By Stephen Sondheim

20th to 28th November 2015

The Playhouse, Cheltenham


Stage Director: Caroline Young
Musical Director: Allan Gillespie


Sally Plummer - Sheila Ham
Young Sally - Sarah Bottomley
Phyllis Stone - Kate Bennett
Young Phyllis - Rachel Prudden
Heidi Schiller - Sue Black
Young Heidi - Lisa Crowhurst
Carlotta Champion - Ann Cox
Stella Deem - Bronwen Carless
Hattie Walker - Sally Lewis
Buddy Plummer - William Browne
Young Buddy - Tom Mullins
Benjamin Stone - Paul Scott
Young Benjamin - Rupert Curtis
Roscoe - Mike Faulkner
Emily Whitman - Penny Lewis
Theodore Whitman - Simon Lewis
Solange Lafitte - Molly Masters
Dmitri Weismann - Peter Young
Kevin - Samuel Taunton
Photographer - Duncan Hooper


Young Showgirls

Aimee Sullivan
Gwenefer Roskilly
Samantha Turner
Maria Marriot


Fiona Hale
Helen Alderton
Sheryl Walpole
Monica Lloyd
Pat Schofield
Sue Pawley
Maggie Preston

Robert Barton-Ancliffe
Richard Schofield


Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' is an aching recognition of tarnished dreams and lost innocence, set during the reunion of a bunch of Ziegfeld-style hoofers on the eve of the destruction of the theatre where they performed 30 years previously. Full of complex ironies and memory 'Follies' is as much about the death of the American dream as any Arthur Miller play.

Its score – including 'Losing My Mind', 'I'm Still Here' and 'In Buddy's Eyes' – squashes the still prevalent idea that Sondheim can't write a tune. In its clever use of pastiche it's a love letter to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and all those other writers who made the musical one of 20th-century America's major contributions to the arts.

The audience will be haunted by the memory of a musical which brings past and present into collision on stage, placing slender young ghosts and middle-aged wobbling flesh side by side in an endlessly bewitching and unsentimental pas de deux of regret.

Maybe that is part of the greatness of 'Follies'. The less it is done, the more you want to see it. The further you are away from it, the more it ensnares you. The older you get, the more it speaks to you. 'Follies' plays exquisitely on the unreliability of memory and the transitory nature of theatre; it is a stark warning against the distorting dangers of nostalgia. But those of us who glimpse it are caught up in its spell and yearn to stop it vanishing through the cracks of memory.

Click here to read the NODA report.


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