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Greater London
posted/updated: 06 Sep 2019 -
Falsettos
by William Finn (Music, Lyrics & Book) and James Lapine (Book).
society/company: West End & Fringe (directory)
performance date: 06 Sep 2019
venue: The Other Palace, 12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA
reviewer/s: Steven Rikard (Sardines review)


L-R Joel Montague (Mendel), Natasha J Barnes (Cordelia), Laura Pitt-Pulford (Trina), Gemma Knight-Jones (Charlotte) & Daniel Boys (Marvin). Photos: The Standout Company

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

With the nation recovering from another season of Love Island, a musical with the tag line “Love can tell a million stories” seems incredibly relevant. Falsettos does have love triangles, break-ups and drama galore, however unlike the villa, this production has a cast overflowing with real talent examining all kinds of relationships to question what is love? It’s not one to be missed.

I have to confess, unlike much of the fan-filled audience, I knew nothing about Falsettos other than what I’d read online and on posters when going to The Other Palace theatre, but boy was I glad I did see it.

William Finn and James Lapine's Falsettos tells the story of a dysfunctional New York family. Marvin seems satisfied with his compassionate wife, Trina and a young son, Jason. However the family is soon broken apart, when Marvin reveals he is homosexual and leaves Trina for a man called Whizzer. Trina however ends up marrying the family psychiatrist, Mendel, and alongside lesbian neighbours Dr. Charlotte and Cordelia the Falsetto family of five are forced to come together and find a way of getting along. Falsettos feels like is could just be labelled an LGBTQ+ musical, however it is way more than that, in this production we are made to feel it is real life drama applicable to everyone.

While the majority of the production could easily be mistaken for current times, references to political figures, historical events of the time and short shorts, actually remind you that it is set in 1970s and as an audience you can’t help but question at times, how much things have changed? Among several poignant moments in the production my personal favourite was Trina singing about men and when will they grow up, which performed in a perfectly acted an unassuming way, seemed very topical.

As with all musicals you expect the vocals to be spot on and they certainly were, it even at times bordered on astounding. With a score that’s pretty much entirely song, with a huge range and incredibly challenging the whole cast made it sound effortless. But what makes a good musical great like this one is putting the ‘all’ alongside the music, and this production did not disappoint.

There was very nice use of dancing and movement to keep you visually engaged but for me the incredible acting of all the cast stole the show. With such a crazy range of emotions and relationships on show, the audience were taken on a journey with the characters that felt honest and true. Giving us high moment of hilarity and low moments of despair, I was totally gripped throughout and the audience was right to give a standing ovation, and I hope there will be many more to come.

With such a high standard of talent on show it seems wrong to single out any of the actors so massive congratulations and a personal thank you must go to Natasha J Barnes, Daniel Boys, Gemma Knight-Jones, Joel Montague, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Oliver Savile and Albert Atack. If I had to pick one moment of the production then I’m Breaking Down delivered by Laura Pitt-Pulford was absolutely superb and quite rightly brought the house down, setting the tone for everything to come.

Tara Overfield-Wilkinson and the whole creative team must have worked tirelessly to produce such a slick and intimate production, kudos to you all. I thought the clever use of staging allowed the action to flow across the small space seamlessly allowing the audience to be hit by the next vocal treat. My only regret is that it’s so action-packed and quick-fire I wasn’t able to leave singing a song on the train home.

If you haven’t booked to see Falsettos yet, do it before you miss your chance. It’s a musical that everyone can relate to and thoroughly enjoy so tell all your friends, I know I will be.

 









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