THE OTHER PALACE THEATRE, LONDON
This revival of the two-time Tony Award winning Falsettos is a truly funny but poignant examination of the dynamics of an alternative family revolving around the life of a Jewish gay man Marvin (Daniel Boys), his wife (Laura Pitt-Pulford), his lover (Oliver Savile), his soon to be bar mitzvahed son (Albert Atack), their psychiatrist (Joel Montague), and the lesbian neighbours (Natasha Barnes & Gemma Knight-Jones).
The genesis of Falsettos goes back as far as 1979 when the first part of what would be a trilogy opened. It was called In Trousers, and March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland would follow. This is only worth mentioning because some of the personal politics behind some of the sentiments in some of the opening moments are a little shall we say unenlightened compared to the sexual politics of today. When Marvin says “a kid, wife and lover. I want it all” it seems it is without regard for the feelings of those involved. Marvin’s selfishness is revealed further when he sings his wife will need to be checked for “Syphilis, hepatitis too!” from his sleeping around with men.
Laura Pitt-Pulford excels as Trina his wife and her song “I’m Breaking Down” is the showstopper of the first act. Albert Atack steals the show as sensitive, wise beyond his years Jason, with songs such as “My Father’s a Homo” – channelling the kid Adam off TV’s The Goldbergs he charms us completely.
It is from this ambiguous start we see Marvin’s journey, as he transforms into the responsible father, lover and ex-husband he wants to be; as he finally creates his own ‘found family’ through songs such as “Father to Son”.
“Something Bad Is Happening” heralds the appalling spectre of the AIDS epidemic and a bereavement forms the emotional apex of the show. Where Falsettos really excels and what really chafes like a raw nerve is that we see how they have collectively grown so much and come so far and should have had the luxury of time to enjoy their new found freedom. When Marvin sings “How am I to face tomorrow after being screwed out of today” it reflects all those that died prematurely, often at the peak of their creativity or success leaving all around them bereft.
It might be happy coincidence or perhaps an eye to the zeitgeist that Torch Song (also a trilogy conceived in 1979 about the trials and tribulations of a Jewish gay man) is being revived at the new Turbine Theatre – needless to say a review will be coming from Queerguru shortly. Mazel Tov!!
REVIEW : JONNY WARD
Jonny Ward, Queerguru Contributing Editor is a drama graduate but has worked backstage for many years at venues such as The ROYAL ALBERT Hall, The 02, Southbank Centre and is currently at The National Theatre. He lives in Hoxton, London and is delighted to check out the latest, the hottest and the downright dodgy in queer culture for Queerguru. (P.S. He is currently single) @JonnyWard360