Follies
30th April - 5th May 2018
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Nora Howcroft
Musical Director Tim Power
Choreographer Lara Crombie-Syddall
Cast
Sally Durant Plummer Lindsay Farnworth
Phyllis Rogers Stone Vicki Wilson
Buddy Plummer Joe Davies
Benjamin Stone John Preston
Young Sally Katie Ryding
Young Phyllis Zoe Pollitt
Young Buddy Jonathan Allen
Young Ben Tom Gillard
Carlotta Campion Adrienne Wormald
Stella Deems Jane Bickerstaffe
Max Deems Keith Shatwell/David Reeves
Hattie Walker Julie Ogden
Solange La Fitte Eileen Reeves
Emily Whitman Val Greenhalgh
Theodore Whitman Alan Moss
Heidi Schiller Joyce Foster
Young Heidi Michelle Foster
Dimitri Weismann Mike Taylor
Roscoe David Witt
Dee Dee West Meredith Collinson
Sandra Crane Sue Cliffe
Kevin David Wilson
Ghosts of Follies girls past
Carole Brooks, Lara Crombie-Syddall, Nina Dickinson, Gill Pollitt, Ruth Prescott, Scarlett Sandiford
Company
Steve Benson, Kathy Clift, Glenys Collinson, Gill Davies, Pam Gaffney, Linda Hardy, Dorothy Jones, Dave McGreavy, Barbara Martin, Maria Sharrocks, Joyce Walters
  • Bolton News
    review
  • NODA North West
    review
  • Bolton News
    article
  • Additional
A folly to miss legendary musical

It would be a folly for lovers of Stephen Sondheim to miss this production, especially as it is twenty-two years since Boltonians had the opportunity to enjoy the musical.

Director Nora Howcroft has her finger on the pulse throughout, whilst MD Tim Power, assisted by Tom Bowes, leads a wonderful orchestra and cast with a clear understanding of the piece.

Without doubt the highlight of this production is the singing. Cast and chorus tackle the demanding score with aplomb, Lindsay Farnworth, Vicki Wilson, Joe Davies and John Preston delivering astonishing technical vocals as the four lead characters. And there is a very dramatic scene where the four and their younger selves confront the bitter sweet contrast between the aspirations of youth and the reality of the passage of time.

It doesn't end there — costumes are excellent, there are a range of mesmerising cameos to complement the principals, and I was particularly impressed with the effortless talents of Katie Riding, Zoe Pollitt, Jonathan Allen and Tom Gillard as the younger versions of the leads.

Highlights include the "Rain on the Roof", "Ah, Paris" and "Broadway Baby" compilation, the wonderful "Who's That Woman" with great choreography from Lara Sydall, and "The Story of Lucy and Jessie".

Peter Haslam
NODA North West review

The Broadway production of Follies opened in 1971, nominated for 11 Tony awards winning 7, in one of the most costly productions ever. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Goldman.

Faded glamour girls meet for a party thrown by Weismann played by Mike Taylor, 30 years on as the Theatre where they once performed is about to be turned into a car park (nothing changes!)

Nora Howcroft's production is the perfect foil for the older actress with a plethora of parts available. The story of obsessive behaviour, neurosis and self-indulgence to name a few are played out in Follies.

Phyllis Rogers Stone, played by Vicki Wilson, embodied the bitter wife actually still in love with her husband wonderfully, strutting her stuff and singing the songs that drew you in to care about this character - I love it when you see an actor give everything! "The Story of Lucy and Jessie" song being a particular favourite of mine and Lara Syddall's choreography coming into play.

Benjamin Stone played by John Preston the husband who doesn't know what he has until he nearly loses her, complemented Vicki's character well, and you could see the chemistry on stage.

Various members of the cast turned out notable performances, having their turn in the spotlight to tell their story of the past and we had a peek into a bygone era. I would particularly like to mention Hattie Walker played by Julie Ogden who commanded from an unlikely upstage position with Broadway Baby.

Also Adrienne Wormaid who played Carlotta Campion the woman who has a different man every year and more if she can fit them in. I think the term cougar could be used and Adrienne certainly gave us sass. "I'm Still Here" was sung with feeling and a tinge of sadness. Supported wonderfully by the Musical Director Tim Power and his assistant Tom Bowes and orchestra.

Young Buddy played by Jonathan Allen, Young Ben played by Tom Gillard, Young Sally played by Katie Ryding and Young Phyllis played by Zoe Pollitt characters were used for the flash-backs and helped the audience fill in the gaps of how the warring couples ended up. Dressed in white, their ghostly presence complemented the story, shadowing the scenes without intruding.

There were some first night nerves with lines and some challenging scene changes due to exiting the stage that I am sure the cast will overcome.

Well done Walmsley cast and crew. Thank you for inviting me and making my guest and I feel so welcome - your hospitality was very much appreciated!

Liz Hume-Dawson
Bolton News article 19th April 2018

Chance to see legendary musical Follies in Bolton


It was 22-years-ago Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society first performed Stephen Sondheim's legendary musical Follies to great acclaim.

There is no doubt that it takes a brilliant society to take on such a demanding show and the theatre company has once again garnered a fantastic cast to bring for only the second time in Bolton the chance for theatre-goers to witness what is described as an "exceptional piece of theatre".

The story tells of a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, of the past performers of the "Weismann's Follies," a musical revue, based on the Ziegfeld Follies, that played in that theatre between the World Wars.

It centres on two couples, Buddy and Sally Durant Plummer and Benjamin and Phyllis Rogers Stone, who are attending the reunion.

Sally and Phyllis were showgirls in the Follies and now both couples are deeply unhappy with their marriages.

Buddy, a travelling salesman, is having an affair with a girl on the road; Sally is still as much in love with Ben as she was years ago; and Ben is so self-absorbed that Phyllis feels emotionally abandoned.

Several of the former showgirls perform their old numbers, sometimes accompanied by the ghosts of their former selves.

Playing Sally and Phyllis are Lindsay Farnworth and Vicki Wilson both of whom played Young Sally and Young Phyllis in the original production given by Walmsley back in 1996 and they say they are very excited to be playing these two fantastic roles.

Playing the parts of Buddy and Ben are Joe Davies and John Preston.

Song after song pours from this exceptional Stephen Sondheim score and features such favourites as Broadway Baby, I'm Still Here and Losing My Mind.

The Musical Director for Follies is Tim Power, with choreography by Lara Syddall and Nora Howcroft is the director.

This multi-award winning society has gained four National Operatic and Dramatic Association nominations for this year's awards — Steve Benson for Best Actor in A Musical for his role in Kiss Me Kate, Vicki Wilson for Best Choreography for Kiss Me Kate, David Wilson for Best Comedy Actor in a Musical for his role in High Society and Nora Howcroft for Best Artistic Director for the same musical.

'Follies' opens at The Parish Hall Theatre, Egerton on Monday, April 30 until Saturday, May 5 and tickets are available from the box office on 01204 305812.

Saiqa Chaudhari

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