Follies at National Theatre - Olivier tickets
Follies at National Theatre - Olivier tickets

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Overview

After most recently appearing on stage in the five-star revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Imelda Staunton is leads the cast in a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Follies. Directed by Dominic Cooke, Follies was last seen in London in 2002 at the Royal Festival Hall. Closing the Olivier Theatre’s 2017 season, the show is Staunton’s first return to musicals since her acclaimed performance in Gypsy.

Set during a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre, past Weismann Follies girls meet before the venue is collapsed forever. Following two unhappy couples, Buddy and Sally and Benjamin and Phyllis, Follies is a heart-wrenching musical that sees old friends forced to confront a lifetime of bad decisions. Looking back at ghosts of their younger selves, the duos begin to question where exactly they went wrong. Featuring songs such as “Losing My Mind”, “Could I Leave You” and “Live, Laugh, Love”, Follies has been revived multiple times over the years.

Olivier award-winning actresses Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee star as Sally Durrant Plummer and Phyllis Rogers Stone respectively. Staunton is best-known for her numerous theatre credits including Gypsy, Guys and Dolls, Good People and Sweeney Todd, as well as screen credits such as Harry Potter and Vera Drake. Janie Dee last appeared on the West End in Broadway comedy Hand to God and has multiple credits including Blithe Spirit and Mack & Mabel.

Additional star-studded casting includes Philip Quast as Ben Stone, Peter Forbes as Buddy Plummer, Zizi Strallen as Young Phyllis, Alex Young as Young Sally and Tracie Bennett as Carlotta Campion, alongside Julie Armstrong, Norma Atallah, Josephine Barstow, Di Botcher, Billy Boyle, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Bruce Graham, Adrian Grove, Fred Haig, Dawn Hioe, Liz Izen, Gemma Page, Gary Raymond and Adam Rhys-Charles.

Ensemble members include Jeremy Batt, Anouska Eaton, Liz Ewing, Emily Goodenough, Aimee Hodnett, Alison Langer, Emily Langham, Sarah-Marie Maxwell, Ian McLarnon, Leisha Mollyneaux, Kate Parr, Edwin Ray, Jordan Shaw, Barnaby Thompson, Christine Tucker and Michael Vinsen.

Dominic Cooke directs Sondheim’s Follies, which features design by Vicki Mortimer, choreography by Bill Deamer, lighting design by Paule Constable and sound design by Paul Groothuis, with musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, additional orchestrations by Josh Clayton and musical direction by Nigel Lilley.

Originally opening on Broadway in 1971 directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, Follies was nominated for eleven Tony Awards, swiping seven. Follies premiered in the West End in 1987, starring Diana Rigg. Now, the musical wows audiences at London’s Olivier Theatre with a stellar cast.

Recommended for

Sondheim fans have the opportunity to see a five-star revival of the production on one of London’s biggest stages, starring a host of West End legends. This is simply not to be missed!

Age Recommendations: No under 5's

Dates and times

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (without an interval)
Opened: 22 Aug 2017
Press night: 06 Sep 2017
Booking from: 22 Aug 2017
Booking until: 03 Jan 2018

Location and map

National Theatre - Olivier
National Theatre, Upper Ground
London, SE1 9PX

68 Reviews Add review

This is real, old-time razzmatazz! The story revolves around a reunion party, 30 years after the final performance of the Weismann... More

u2fancat 5'6'', 42 reviews, 0 helpful votes

This is real, old-time razzmatazz! The story revolves around a reunion party, 30 years after the final performance of the Weismann Follies. The central set frequently revolves to show us front, and back of stage - the story is, the theatre is about to be demolished, and the set is scruffy enough to match that idea, with tattered seats and piles of junk scattered about. Wonderfully elegant ladies glide around in old-fashioned costumes, as the older people arrive to reminisce. It duly becomes apparent that the ladies in old-time costume are the former selves of some of the older characters, as they hover in the background whenever their older selves take the stage. There is a plot - but that's not why we're really there. The joy of this show is in the musical numbers, wonderfully composed by Stephen Sondheim, and delivered in belting performances by Imelda Staunton, among others. One of the absolute highlights was the duet of the oldest performer alongside her "younger self" - not sure who they were. Stunning! And the production.. an American-sounding woman coming down the stairs behind me said it as well as I can: she just exclaimed to her companion, "The singing! The costumes! The sets!" Yes, all of the above. In fact, it really takes off towards the end, when they just concentrate on straightforward musical numbers. Definitely one of the best shows in town at the moment, it makes you nostalgic for that style of theatre. Runs until the 3rd of January - now sold out, apart from day tickets, returns, and Friday rushes. Seriously, do whatever you can to get a ticket - it's phenomenal.. Standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

u2fancat 5'6'', 42 reviews, 0 helpful votes

I had the privilege of seeing Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies', starring Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee, Philip Quast, Peter Forbes, and T... More

gdeacon95 6'1, 67 reviews, 7 helpful votes

I had the privilege of seeing Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies', starring Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee, Philip Quast, Peter Forbes, and Tracie Bennett. For what is probably my favourite Sondheim score, this production absolutely did it justice and then some. Firstly each cast member brought an original and exciting interpretation to every number, especially the standards, and the acting was just sensational from everyone. Imelda Staunton is already a favourite of mine after seeing her in 'Sweeney Todd', 'Gypsy', and 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', and she only continues to grow as just that. Watching her perform is breathtaking. The whole 37 strong cast were fantastic, and the 21-piece orchestra were equally sublime, producing such a gorgeous sound out of one of Sondheim's most genius scores. The set design was incredibly effective, perfectly encapsulating the decrepit theatre atmosphere, and the lighting equally complimented it, with the shadows/silhouettes creating an eerie effect with the 'younger versions' of the characters selves. Across the board this production was superlative - it really does feel like an honour to have seen it.

gdeacon95 6'1, 67 reviews, 7 helpful votes

Awesome! The direction is flawless... I’ve seen the show a few times but it’s the first time I really got it. The set is based on ... More

mikesimpson 3 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Awesome! The direction is flawless... I’ve seen the show a few times but it’s the first time I really got it. The set is based on the photograph which inspired the show and the ruins of the once glamorous theatre are a fantastic backdrop for this tale of regret and former glory. Imelda Staunton is funny and gut-wrenchingly sad (losing my mind will tear you apart), Jamie Dee has a ball as the acerbic Phyllis (should I leave you is championship heavyweight boxing with words), Philip Quast is brilliant as ever (he breaks down marvellously) and Peter Forbes’ Buddy’s Folly is a tour de force - slick, funny and sad. The follies girls are also amazing and everyone gets their moment - here I am and broadway baby are the obvious stand-outs - the Heidi bairstow duet however was touching and equally moving. A sad melancholy afternoon at the theatre but wonderful.

mikesimpson 3 reviews, 0 helpful votes

NT + Cooke's production of Follies was fantastic. The production value all-around was very high value with incredible, detailed se... More

tessrobs 152cm, 20 reviews, 2 helpful votes

NT + Cooke's production of Follies was fantastic. The production value all-around was very high value with incredible, detailed set and costumes. The characters are rich and the performance of each character is crafted beautifully by each of the actors with stand-out performances from Janie Dee, Philip Quast and the incomprehensibly good Imelda Staunton who delightfully met fans at the stage door afterwards.

tessrobs 152cm, 20 reviews, 2 helpful votes

Excellent revival of Sondheim's gorgeous musical Follies, splendidly directed and performed by a top-notch cast. Imelda Staunton, ... More

sondheimkid 170, 152 reviews, 24 helpful votes

Excellent revival of Sondheim's gorgeous musical Follies, splendidly directed and performed by a top-notch cast. Imelda Staunton, Philip Quast, Janie Dee and Peter Forbes are perfect in the four leading roles and other strong supportive performances come from Tracie Bennett, Di Botcher and - especially - Dame Josephine Barstow.

sondheimkid 170, 152 reviews, 24 helpful votes

I'd never seen 'Follies' before and was so pleased I finally got around to seeing it. Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee in particular... More

joc78 5"4, 252 reviews, 4 helpful votes

I'd never seen 'Follies' before and was so pleased I finally got around to seeing it. Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee in particular stood out for me in this production which must have had a cast of over 35 people - it was immense! Wonderful costumes and some classic Stephen Sondheim numbers. At times it did feel a tad too long and an interval would have been welcomed, however it was great to see a traditional musical on this wonderful stage.

joc78 5"4, 252 reviews, 4 helpful votes

Follies was one of the most brilliant shows I have seen, and I have seen a lot! World class theatre and a credit to the massive t... More

colinpinfold 6' 2, 13 reviews, 1 helpful vote

Follies was one of the most brilliant shows I have seen, and I have seen a lot! World class theatre and a credit to the massive team of people who put it all together and make sure it runs like clockwork on every performance. Flawless. Runs for about 2 hours and 15 minutes with no interval. Note" Photo taken after the performance.

colinpinfold 6' 2, 13 reviews, 1 helpful vote

Kiwi 6"0, 11 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Kiwi 6"0, 11 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Follies is an emotional powerhouse of a show and is certainly the best Sondheim production I’ve seen. Also weirdly nice to see som... More

doonakebab 5'10", 86 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Follies is an emotional powerhouse of a show and is certainly the best Sondheim production I’ve seen. Also weirdly nice to see something that Imelda Staunton isn’t the break out star in - she’s brilliant (as ever!) - but so are Janie Dee and Tracie Bennett.

doonakebab 5'10", 86 reviews, 0 helpful votes