Monday, March 20, 2023

Sondheim festival III: Follies, the high school musical

So this theatrical group, composed entirely of students from numerous local high schools, put on a quite excellent production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead a few years ago. How would they do with Sondheim's Follies? Not so great, although everybody was competent on the level of knowing their lines and being able to depict a character. But a play that's largely about couples aged 50 whose marriages are falling apart requires more seasoning than high school actors are going to have, and Sondheim's complex songs require more self-confidence than a lot of these people have got either. Mousy renditions of "Broadway Baby" and "In Buddy's Eyes" don't cut it. The one performer who had what it takes played Carlotta, one of the lesser roles, and her big number "I'm Still Here" was the highlight of the show, more enjoyable than most professional versions I've heard. A big hand, then, for Audrey Rechenmacher.

Exceedingly bare-bones production in the small performance space at the Mountain View CPA. No ghosts of the characters' earlier selves, a lot of double-casting in the minor roles. Minimal sets, sketchy costumes. The leading character of Phyllis wore a very fetching green dress, but a couple dance-hall girls had enormous runs or actual holes in their stockings. I don't think they were intentionally seedy.

Since I don't know Follies well, and had never actually seen it performed before, I took this as a get-acquainted prelude to the adult community theater level, and unstaged concert version, that I plan to see next month.

No comments:

Post a Comment