LONDON (AP) – Imelda Staunton plays a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown in “Follies,” Stephen Sondheim’s dizzying musical about a traumatic reunion of former Broadway showgirls.
Staunton goes from perky to shattered as Sally Durant Plummer, a former showgirl who meets up with a former friend and an old flame in Sondheim’s show about the pull of nostalgia and the perils of aging. The smash-hit National Theatre production is broadcast live to international movie theaters Thursday, with repeat screenings over the coming weeks.
So it’s strange to hear that Staunton, fresh off an acclaimed performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” initially worried the musical might be a bit unchallenging.
She says “I thought, is it too lightweight?” – but soon realized it’s “a play full of pain and regret.”