Re-review: Follies 2019, National Theatre

Follies 2019 remains the show that I need right now

“I’m so glad I came”

Just a quickie for this revisit to Follies, which remains as perfect a piece of musical theatre as I could hope for. I loved it then but I really love it now, Joanna Riding is just heartbreakingly perfect as Sally, she really brings something to the role that somehow eluded Imelda Staunton (for me at least), Alexander Hanson is superb in tracing Ben’s tragic fall, and Janie Dee and Peter Forbes maintain their stellar work as Phyllis and Buddy (seriously, Dee is a proper showstopper).

And as is surely appropriate in Dominic Cooke’s production, ghosts of the past interplay with what we’re seeing from top to bottom. It was great to see Dame Felicity Lott as Heidi, a different but no less affecting proposition than Dame Josephine Barstow (there truly ain’t nothing like a…). And the young talents of Gemma Sutton, Ian McIntosh, Harry Hepple and Christine Tucker are eloquently elegant as the younger incarnations of the central quartet.

I benefited from a different viewpoint too, up close but out to the side, which brought to light so much of the beautiful detail on display here. Vicki Mortimer’s exquisite set and costumes, how Tracie Bennett gives every single inch of herself in her extraordinary ‘I’m Still Here’, how Dawn Hope matches her for commitment as she leads the nigh-on perfect choreography (Bill Deamer) as Stella for ‘Who That’s Woman?’. Seriously, don’t miss your final opportunities to catch this.

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Follies is booking at the National Theatre until 11th May

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