Follies - Dry Cold Productions for SondheimFest 2013

Apologies, as this post is late-coming.

Dry Cold have made their name in Winnipeg for producing challenging and mature musical theatre (Read: mainly Sondheim) so when the festival was announced it was no surprise that they would opt to mount yet another production of his work. This time, the selection was for Follies - Sondheim's postcard to the glory days of New York Theatre. The show itself is not, in my opinion, Sondheim's strongest work. The piece comes through as a revue, mimicing the type of show a true follies would have been, however at the same time aims to give storyline, showing what occurs when two couples are back together with one another once again, and interested in the wrong partner. The music in Follies is memorable and challenging. Despite the play itself lacking in drive, the songs serve their purpose well. Significant pieces include Broadway Baby and Losing my Mind.

Dry Cold have assembled in this cast some of the serious heavy-hitters in Winnipeg's musical theatre elite. Donna Fletcher, Brenda Gorlick, and Carson Nattras sparkle, demonstrating their ability to commit serious emotion within a song. Patricia Hunter's cheeky rendition of Broadway Baby is the kind of "selling a song" that I only wish more performers were capable of. However unfortunately the strength of the production falls on the acting chops of the cast, and as a whole, becomes stilted. The feeing of cohesiveness one expects from a full length production is missing. Additionally, the pieces of the 2nd act which function as fantasy for the 4 lead characters were tough to distinguish from the style of the rest of the production, so this more clever piece of Sondheim's writing was lost.

Overall it was a master class in performance from some, but as a full production did not hang together the way I would want it to.