Falsettos is a musical about what it takes to leave a traditional family to be with a man. This is Marvin's story. Marvin is a Jewish father who leaves his family. He ends up falling in love with his gay boyfriend Whizzer. The ups and downs and twists and turns of love encapsulates in its various forms. Whilst it is entertaining, you really need to pay attention to the constant thought-provoking plot - so to not skip any beats.
A really sad time for Marvin. Image: Helen White - Darlinghurst Theatre Company.
The plot is simple. No fancy backgrounds. If the linoleum was to comprise of a bright white (as opposed to a blue) colour, the backdrop would be too clinical. True to form, especially as the five Jews (the Falsettos) were wearing white shirts and black pants to begin with. You would be forgiven for thinking they looked like Pinocchio at first. Just concentrate on the musical. The backdrop enabled the audience to focus on the cast.
Falsetto's is divided into two-parts, with a 20-minute interlude in between. The first part is based is based on 1981's March of The Falsettos. This was an era of sexual liberation and gay liberation. The concept of love is strong. A love story shines afield. The audience is laughing in parts. There was ample singing, and it was impressive to discover the amount of lines the crew had to learn. A mammoth task that one solely appreciates with immense gratitude for what was a fairly good night. The meaning behind the singing was not easy to interpret, yet the energy and enthusiasm from the cast was way better than expected.
High energy indeed. Image: Helen White - Darlinghurst Theatre Company.
The young one was advised to see a psychiatrist because he loves to play chess alone. Even if you're not a chess player, you will still decipher the meaning behind this. All is subject to your own interpretation, and that is a-ok. The son surrenders to his parents wishes, and agrees to sit with a psychiatrist. The overall vibe: a cleverly executed and crafted play. One minute you're thinking stop the world, I want to get off, while the next the thirst for adventure is peaking. So are the laughs. Quirky entertainment that raises awareness in more ways than one. In parts within the first half, I wanted to cry.
The second part of this play is based on the 1990's Falsettoland. As a result, this full-length Falsettos musical was born - premiering at Broadway's John Golden Theatre. This play (at the time) ran over 487 performances, and won two Tony awards in 1992.
The Falsettos come to life, although there is a sad ending with Whizzer. He is unwell. He has AIDS. Today, AIDS is not a disastrous disease. Back in the 80's and 90's it was fatal, and was an insidious and fast-emerging health crisis among gay men. The cast are wearing colours. A personality change indeed, with one of them a Doctor. The plot changes thick and fast, for better or for worse encounter. Some nostalgia kicks in, reminiscing back to the 60's. Has the world gone mad? You be the judge of that.
A surprisingly good scene. Image: Helen White - Darlinghurst Theatre Company.
Some seriousness strikes in, yet the laughter balances this out for a bit more entertainment to keep us glued and focused. An abundance of effort and enthusiasm prevails, and the meaning of the singing is still open to interpretation. More questions than answers seem to be raised, and a sense of deja vu can strike while the irons hot.
The background gets a lift of life with some blue balloons, and a few candle chandeliers. Pop goes the sparkling, and sadly Whizzers life comes to an end due to his debilitating illness. "Welcome to Falsettoland" will stick in your skull. Surprisingly, yet as expected, half of the room gave the cast full standing ovations at the end of the play.
I highly recommend this play - it's a constructive, thoughtful and funny musical all wrapped into a good night out. Don't give up on love.
Whizzer hanging on for dear life here. Image: Helen White - Darlinghurst Theatre Company.
Performance running time: Approximately two hours and thirty minutes, including a 20-minute interval. This play contains coarse language and adult themes. There will be no performance on Saturday the 1st of March 2014 due to the Mardi Gras parade.