2014 – Follies

A treat of a show – Northumberland Gazette – March 2014.

Alnwick Stage Musical Society rose to the challenge to give a fine rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s classic show, Follies.

Make no mistake, it was a brave choice of production, with difficult songs and a deep storyline which weaves between past and present.

But this amateur-dramatic group, which has brought us the likes of Beauty and the Beast and The Sound of Music in previous years, took it all in its stride on Tuesday – the show’s opening night.

Sondheim’s award-winning show is a poignant piece set a few decades after the demise of the Weissman Follies – a glitzy revue staged between the wars.

It focuses on a group of once-glamorous Weissman girls who gather in their now-condemned theatre for one last time before it is demolished.

As the women relive their glory days on stage, old rivalries and resentments surface and their follies, both past and present, are revealed.

It’s fair to say that the show gathers pace as it goes on, and for me, the production came alive in the second half, especially when the story moves to Loveland – a fantasy where the folly of each character is revealed.

It was here that the main players of the cast really shone, including Dave Penny and Lynne Lambert.

One of my favourite set pieces was You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through. It featured James Matthewson, Benjamin Kinloch, Claire Teasdale and Sophie McDougall and all four impressed.

The entire cast helped to make the production a success and all coped well with the difficult songs.

James Willoughby.

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