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Review: FALSETTOS | LIEFDE IN TIJDEN VAN CRISIS ⭐️⭐️⭐️(+0,5) at DeLaMar

Review: FALSETTOS | LIEFDE IN TIJDEN VAN CRISIS ⭐️⭐️⭐️(+0,5) at DeLaMar

Celebrating Pride Month

Falsettos is a combination of two one-act musicals, March of the Falsettos (1981) and Falsettoland (1990), the last two shows in a trio of one-acters (the first one was In Trousers).Music and lyrics by William Finn (Dutch translation by director Koen Van Dijk). Book by James Lapine.

Marvin (William Spaaij) left his wife Trina (comic-at-heart Rosalie de Jong) to be with his male lover Whizzer (Job Greuter) and wants to keep his family together and struggling to do so. The child of Marvin and Trina, 10-year-old Jason (a debuting Milan van Leipzig, who is a little too light-weight for this role) is caught in between.

Therapy seems to be the answer to it all, for both Marvin, Trina and forced to go - also Jason. Here we meet therapist Mendel (Ad Knippels) who instantly falls in love with Trina and later marries her. The intertwining of all relationships is the premise of the first act.

Review: FALSETTOS | LIEFDE IN TIJDEN VAN CRISIS ⭐️⭐️⭐️(+0,5) at DeLaMar

In Act Two, we have made a time jump, to right before Jason's birthday, his 13th. He is going back and forth questioning whether he wants to do his bar mitzvah, where all the adults in his life are pushing him to make decision. In the meantime, Whizzer falls ill with a mysterious disease with influences not only his life, but also of the rest of the 'family'.

Musically, it's an eclectic mix with goes back and forth between hysterical compositions to subdued melodies. Gems in the hysterical musical madness is the love song Marvin (William Spaaij) sings to his son Jason Father to Son, at the end of Act One. Perfectly dosed and heartfelt. Also You Gotta Die Sometime in the second Act, beautiful and skillfully portrayed by Job Greuter as Whizzer. His Whizzer is composed and calm, with subtle acting choices.

In general, the music seems to counterbalance what's going on in the scene, which is not always beneficial. It would have created more peace, if the drama of the plot could have just been there. To paraphrase the legends that are The Beatles, Let It Be. No need to have up-tempo hysterical compositions to make it lighter.

Review: FALSETTOS | LIEFDE IN TIJDEN VAN CRISIS ⭐️⭐️⭐️(+0,5) at DeLaMar

As mentioned, Falsettos is a combined piece, and it shows. The second act was a totally different ballgame, compared to the first one. In act One, we see a whole lot of emphasis on our youngest member of the family Jason. In Act Two, the whole focus shifts on the relationship of Marvin and Whizzer. It makes you wonder what they are trying to tell us. Are we looking at a dysfunctional family portrayal? Are we looking at a struggle with romantic love? Or are we looking at the process of the mystery disease (no word is spoken of HIV/Aids), which befalls on Whizzer?

Furthermore, in Act Two, we meet two new characters, which is unusual to say the least. Julia Herfst plays Cordelia (a motherly, super friendly neighbor who just loves to cook) and Danique Graanoogst plays Charlotte, an internist/doctor, and the lover of Cordelia.

Wikipedia says:
"The inclusion of lesbian characters Charlotte and Cordelia is a tribute to the lesbians who assisted gay men during the epidemic. Finn expressed that the inclusion of women in the story was paramount to the message of the show, explaining, "Gay men's lives have a lot of women in them. This is important to come into the conversation. They should not be ignored."[47] The show also explores heterosexual Trina's perspective on Whizzer's illness in "Holding to the Ground", where she shows solidarity with him despite previously struggling to accept his relationship with Marvin.[47]"

Without this background info, the characters could have been seen as redundant. However friendly and helpful they are, they come out of the blue and don't add a great deal to the story, looking at it from a dramatic perspective. Julia Herfst was a charming Cordelia though, with her Tupperware full of (Jewish) food constantly.

Review: FALSETTOS | LIEFDE IN TIJDEN VAN CRISIS ⭐️⭐️⭐️(+0,5) at DeLaMar

The set design (Eric Goossens) is a smart chess board, where the chess pieces also serve as chairs. It is used in several ways, to display the 'game' of life in every aspect.

Also worth mentioning: The tennis scenes between Whizzer and Marvin are not only nifty in dialogue as a clear way to show the differences in the characters, but they also have a smart and cool choreography by Chiara Re, as it is sheer fun in the first set, but have a dramatic twist in the second one.

Falsettos is a refreshing musical yet lacking a clear direction. Act Two could have been a musical holding its own, and with the emotional maturity which is needed in this coming-of-age story. Surprisingly and a bit out of character, the most adult choice comes from Jason (spoiler alert), as he chooses to do his bar mitzvah in the presence of his dying family friend, a touching moment.

In the end, this musical explores general humanity, with all his fails, flaws but also the power of friendship and love, which comes in full bloom in Act Two.

For more info: www.opusone.nl

Photo credits: Liza Kollau

Regional Awards


From This Author - Chantal Kunst

Chantal is a passionated theatregoer and takes the same passion into her day job: voice casting director, where she casts voice-actors for commercials and other projects. 

From her home ... (read more about this author)


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