A dysfunctional Jewish family is at the heart of the new show Falsettos.
Now playing at The Other Place theatre near Victoria Station, Falsettos is a funny, toe-tapping, well-acted and sung musical set in NYC in the late 70s and early ’80s. But later in the show reality kicks in and the show takes a turn.
The show opens with the hilarious song ‘Four Jews in a Room Bitching.’ The four Jews include Trina (a wonderful Laura Pitt-Pulford), and Marvin (a very good Daniel Boys), who were married with a young son Jason (various actors play the part but on the night I saw it it was a fantastic George Kennedy).
However Marvin turned gay when he meets, and falls in love with, Whizzer (Oliver Savile), and they move in together, leaving Trina single. But the family is recommended to go see a shrink Mendel – (Joel Montague) to accept their new circumstances. It all becomes very confusing for Jason, who spends most of his time alone in his bedroom with no friends to hang out with. Jason and Whizzer become very close and it’s Whizzer who tells Jason to see the shrink as well. Trina and Mendel soon fall in and all seems fine with everyone, but suddenly Marvin and Whizzer break up, and then Whizzer starts getting sick.
As it’s the early 1980’s in NYC, it’s no surprise what disease Whizzer is struck with.
The show then unexpectedly turns very dark, so unlike the first half which was hilarious and fun!
When Falsettos first premiered on Broadway in 1992 theatre audiences (a lot of them gay men) were just getting over the multitude of deaths from the 1980’s AIDS crises, a chapter in LGBT history that is dark and grim. But through its storytelling via music (Pit-Pulford brings the house down with songs ‘Trina’s Song’ and ‘Holding to the Ground’), and a wicked sense of humour (the funniest moment is when the second half opens and Mendel points to an audience member and says ‘you are a homosexual.’)
Falsettos will set the right notes for your theatre-going experience. The cast is all wonderful (give Pitt-Pulford an award pronto).
This show, directed by Tara Overfield-Wilkinson, succeeds in it’s first showing in London in a venue where every seat is good, and with a very good cast.