About Time You Saw: FalsettosBy Gilly Hopper
Debuted on Broadway in 1992, 27 years on Falsettos, the sung-through musical by William Finn and James Lapine, makes its UK premiere at The Other Palace.
Falsettos’ plot revolves around the life of a gay man named Marvin (Daniel Boys), his wife (Laura Pitt-Pulford), his lover (Oliver Savile), his soon to be bar mitzvahed son (Albert Atack, George Kennedy, Elliot Morris and James Williams), their psychiatrist (Joel Montague), and the lesbian neighbours (Natasha Barnes and Gemma Knight-Jones). Tracing the unconventional New York Jewish family’s life from the early 80s through the early days of the AIDS crisis, Falsettos presents a series of monumental life changes for the musical’s central character, Marvin, as he reckons with the idea of what it means to be a man.
Initially, the two acts started out as stand alone Off-Broadway works – The March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland. Their disjointedness shows, with a need for further explanation to weld together Act One’s petty squabbling with a more poignant Act Two.
Impeccably sung, notable performances include Laura Pitt-Pulford’s comical unravelling in “I’m Breaking Down” and Natasha Barnes makes a strong impression with her humoured, if sparse, interjections throughout the second act. The Act Two quartet, “Unlikely Lovers”, performed by Marvin, Whizzer, Charlotte and Cordelia, is one of the show’s most effecting numbers.
While performances are flavoursome, with new spins attempted on an outdated book, Falsettos’ vintage shows.