I was in London a few months ago and I saw one of the most fabulous musical I’d ever seen. I am something of a connoisseur when it comes to theatre and I have to say that Follies starring Imelda Staunton, playing at the National Theatre, has to be the best show that I’ve seen in a very long time.
The musical is one of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpieces and is one of the most gut-wrenching and powerful stories ever put onstage. Because the National Theatre is committed to bringing the best artists to their stage they create a spectacle that is not to be missed. They put time, money and effort in to create pieces of theatre that you won’t find in any regional theatre.
The show’s centerpiece was a rotating veranda that had to have been at least two stories tall. Around it, the characters walked and danced and sang as the veranda rotated behind and among them. Because this was a Sondheim piece, you can be sure that there were huge dance numbers and songs that have lasted through the ages. One of these songs is Broadway Baby. Anyone who has any knowledge of theatre knows that this song is one of the quintessential songs of the musical stage. The dancers were beautiful and talented. Their costumes were festooned with colored feathers that waved in the spotlight as they flew across the stage, seemingly weightless. The finale had me in tears that I had not expected and I left melancholic, but in awe of the greatness that I’d just witnessed.
I saw a lot of theatre while I was in London, but no other show tugged at my heartstrings like Follies did. From the performances to the set, you could see why the National Theatre is one of the greatest hubs for theatre in the world.