Friday, February 09, 2007
The pastiche numbers all score (wow!) and the thirty piece orchestra sounds absolutely lush (yes, by all means, go!) yet I can't give this production of Follies the unqualified rave that others have. The dynamics between the four main characters - crucial in any production of this musical if it's going to amount to more than a string of brilliant songs - simply don't come off. Victoria Clark sings well (although not distinctively) but her Sally lacks vulnerablity and puts too little at stake; she communicates a vaguely put out "oh darnit" disappointment where crushing heartache ought to be. She has no chemistry with Michael McGrath, who simply disappears on stage as Buddy even when he's front and center, and she has no chemistry with Victor Garber, whose Ben leans so far to the sour side that we have to take claims of his desirability on faith. (It doesn't help that Garber's wobbly vibrato makes him sound like a goat yodeling through its nose). The saving grace in the main quartet is that as Phyllis, Donna Murphy is spectacular - her cool line readings turn ice into fire, and her "Could I Leave You" has so much poison bitterness it's almost like watching a snake coiling around its prey and hissing through fangs.