Falsettos - Review
Falsettos is a musical about a Jewish family in which the father has left after realizing he is gay and has moved in with his lover. The story centres around their relationships, how they cope with the different situations and their feelings around these, which they openly express to their therapist. It’s an interesting situation which has a lot of potential – there is the unresolved feelings between the parents, the relationship between the father and son and insecurities the father has in his relationship with his new lover.
But the show shies away from any sense of drama. Because of this it never delves too deeply into any of these relationships and as a result felt flat and uninspired. In the second act they try to build up more of a plotline (which I won’t discuss for the risk of spoilers) but it felt needless. The show is actually two one act shows joined together and it shows. It felt like two distinct stories which they hadn’t really tried to rationalize and the characters don’t move beyond the superficial. In it’s first production in 1992 it may have felt new and exciting to have a show where the lead man is gay but it needs a lot more than that to sustain it. The other thing to note in the story is that none of the relationships felt real – there was never any chemistry between them and certainly not any passion as you’d expect to see.
The show opens with a song about “four jews bitching”. It doesn’t tell you anything about the show or the characters but is a fun song to open the show with before getting into the story. However, the music doesn’t really move on from “nice”. The songs are enjoyable enough but they are repetitive and in a show that’s over two hours long you need a lot more colour to sustain your interest. Again this come from being two shows that are shown sequentially rather than amalgamated to make one coherent production.
That’s not to say it is all bad. The voices of the actors are excellent and we know they could be challenged a lot more. There were some good individual parts with a favourite being Laura Pitt-Pulford giving a great comedy performance in “I’m Breaking Down”. When we saw it Albert Atack played the son Jason who gave a confident and balanced performance.
We also found the set very effective. Being a central stage framed with numerous picture frames, most of which were digital and used to great effect through most of the show. There are two empty frames which at times will hold some of the actors creating a feeling of omnipresence when people are discussing those characters.
For a show that has potential this was a disappointing production, especially given some of the positive rumours we’d heard beforehand. But while the team working on it did a good job it has a lackluster score and book that need considerable re-writes. This gets a disappointing 2 Laura Michelle-Kelly stars.