Previews from 14th February, opens 19th February 2019. Ends 11th May 2019.
Captioned performances: 18th March 2019 at 7.30pm, 26th March 2019 at 2pm, 1st
April 2019 at 7.30pm, 6th April 2019 at 2pm.
Audio described performances: 22nd March 2019 at 7.30pm, 23rd March 2019 at
2pm (touch tour available).
PETER GYNT (play)
Previews from 27th June, opens 9th July 2019. Ends 8th October 2019.
Captioned performances: 16th September 2019 at 7pm, 26th September 2019 at 1pm,
2nd October 2019 at 7pm.
Audio described performances: 13th September 2019 at 7pm, 14th September 2019 at
1pm (touch tour available - ask box office for details).
SMALL ISLAND (play)
Previews from 17th April, opens 1st May 2019.
Captioned performances: 12th June 2019 at 2pm, 27th July 2019 at 2pm
Audio described performances: 19th July 2019 at 7.30pm, 20th July 2019 at 2pm
(touch tour available - ask box office for details)
Follies: Tomorrow, the Weismann Theatre will be demolished... tonight,
those "Beautiful Girls" reminisce... The Sondheim classic is revived at the
National, following a successful run in 2017. Dominic Cooke directs.
Peter Gynt: Peter steals a bride and begins a lifelong trip around the
world with her. Ibsen updated to the 21st century by David Hare.
Small Island: Three lives from the Second World War until 1948.
Jamaican and British, Helen Edmundson adapts the Andrea Levey epic novel for a
cast of 40.
Follies: (from the previous run, seen at the afternoon performance on 23rd
September 2017. Some actors have now left the cast). The latest incarnation
of many has arrived at the National Theatre, London. Dominic Cooke uses the full
resources of the National to present something remarkable. Played without an
interval, if it weren't for the structure of the show itself, probably nobody
would notice the passage of time - appropriate, as that is the key theme.
In a partly demolished theatre (perfectly realised by Vicki Mortimer) former
showgirls, their husbands and impresarios meet for a final time. Hauntingly
beautiful, their younger spirits shadow them, as lives are played and re-played
like the spectaculars in which all once participated.
The first two-thirds of the production could have been called "Ghosts" for the
construct, but the monkey preferred "triste" (Latin for "Sadness"). It's a
feeling that lifts as the evening progresses and re-connection is made with the
energies of youth. The final third, the tricky "Loveland" in which the muddled
emotions of the four leads are explored in four individual songs thus makes an
odd contrast - and is the singularity never really solved for the monkey.
Fortunately, the performances overcome all.
Imelda Staunton (Sally) re-claims "Losing My Mind" from cabaret, an internal
monologue sung with breathtaking control and punctilious phrasing. It's just one
of several other "standards," returning to their rightful home. Tracie Bennett
(Carlotta) gives "I'm Still Here" unique animation, Philip Quast (Ben) hold the
audience enthralled with "The Road You Didn't Take," Janie Dee's (Phyllis) late
"The Story of Lucy and Jessie" is pure emotional energy, and ensemble numbers
"Beautiful Girls" and "Loveland" are particularly impressive.
Notes too for the shadows - Adam Rhys-Charles (Young Ben) and Fred Haig (Young
Buddy) forming the principal male team, beautifully over-confident in their
naivety, with Zizi Strallen (Young Phyllis) and Alex Young (Young Sally) as
sisters in spirit (Ms Young, unusually managing without actual spirits, too).
The pairing bring out the most in each other, two rising musical theatre
performers a joy to watch.
A huge supporting cast, too numerous to mention* but every one of them
contributing unique movement, costume and background shadow (note in particular
the period showgirl costumes worn by youngsters, appropriate to each senior
character) and impressive orchestra under Nigel Lilley give the finishing
touches; as do the rare operatic vocals - performed, as with many numbers in the
show - in an almost spooky spotlight glare.
This version doesn't solve many issues the show may have in construction, pace
and resolution, but this deeply moving 5 star production uses the emotion that
is the personal passage of time in each one of us to weave a tale of age that
will live as vividly as youth in the memory.
If you can get a ticket, go see.
*Also impossible, as the programme has ditched decent photographs of each person
for "ensemble" shots too blurry to match with.
Gynt: Not available.
Small Island: Not available.
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