Churchill Theatre Bromely – until 3 November 2018
Reviewed by Elizabeth Smith
Stephen Sondheim’s Follies is the story of the last days of the Weisman Theatre, now a crumbling shell of its former self, it is hosting one last party where all the former performers reunite and reminisce about the glory days, while trailed by their ghostly memories of their younger selves. Against this backdrop is the decade old love quadrangle between Follies dancers Sally and Phylis and their respective husbands, Buddy and Ben, who were once the best of friends. The whole night brings memories of romance and regret and test the two marriages.
The curtains raise and we see the dishevelled remnants of the theatre and begin to meet the characters in all their emotional ups and downs.
Sally, Tracy Prizeman, has reached her middle age, still holding a torch for her long lover Ben. Tracey gives you all the emotions of a dissatisfied drunk who wastes her life wishing it had turned out differently. Her rendition of “I think I’m losing my mind” was filled with the angst of a broken hearted woman.
Phyllis, Jacqui Morris, a well healed socialite, carries herself with grace and charm. When asked if she could leave her husband Ben, she tells us what she does for him and Yes she could leave it all behind. Jacqui gives a strong performance with this number and you believe she may just of had
enough of her marriage to leave.
Buddy, Kevin Gauntlett, still madly in love with Sally after all these years but knows he plays second fiddle to Ben in his wive’s heart. “The right girl” leaves you in no doubt of his love for his wife and the frustration he feels at her wasting her life on a man who doesn’t care.
Ben, Gari Glaysher, a successful lawyer and politician, has issues as to how to really love someone, can he ever be that person?. “The road you didn’t Take” another song of regret performed with passion and conveys the turmoil he puts himself through even after all he has achieved.
All the characters were well acted with Hattie, Emma Back, standing out from the crowd with her performance. A small part but well executed.
The younger members had super voices and you could see the characteristics of their older selves. Ellen Gauntlet, draws you to her with her infectious smile and lovely voice. The ensemble filled the stage and created the atmosphere of “one last time” kind of a party.
The dancers performed timely and stylishly. With some amazing show costumes.
Some parts of the performance where a little flat but over all the singers sung and the performers performed, what is a difficult Sondheim musical.