Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Falsettos: The Other Palace 5*

The genesis of Falsettos over 12 years as William Finn developed his original story In Trousers in1979, to create March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland in the early 1980s, before finally bringing them together as Falsettos (with James Lapine as book writer) in 1991. This impacts the work both in terms of Finn’s writing and the context in which it was being created, with one impacting the other over that decade. As a writer, and as a person Finn naturally changed and evolved over that decade, and while there is no harsh divide in the work between the older story and the later work (in part thanks to Lapine’s work as book writer uniting the two), there’s a clear evolution as a writer present in the work. Something is rarely seen within the space of one piece, the music naturally evolves with Marvin and his family. It’s imperfect- but the natural cohesion lost in hemming together the works and decades serve the subject. Meanwhile, the backdrop to Finn’s writing was the shift in the lives of Gay men. When Finn/Marvin’s story starts, we are riding the wave of liberation, the world feels full of hope and possibility. And although for Marvin this also causes anxiety and a crisis of identity, it’s ultimately a moment of optimism. For the second act, we enter the 1980s and the shadow of AIDS is immediately apparent. When Mendel says ‘this story needs an ending’ an audience can already guess what it might be, as the world had shifted in the interim of Finn’s writing. All of this makes Falsettos a fascinating work. Long-form in its writing it has a certain reflective quality that embeds in the characters that isn’t often seen.

Added to this is the fact that this is the premiere London production. Somewhere in the shadow of the more prominent ‘AIDS dramas’ like The Normal Heart and Angels in America Finn’s musical family drama got a bit ‘lost to history’. Despite success in New York- winning multiple Tony awards- it never made the transition to a more mainstream or universal success that others, like Jonathan Larson’s Rent, did several years later.

And this production may have been two decades in the making, but sometimes the right moment is worth waiting for. The cultural and theatrical distance has allowed the team to create Falsettos on their terms- honouring the history it depicts, the community it is talking to, but giving it a new voice.

Tara Overfield-Wilkinson has approached the play with sensitivity and intimacy. Her direction and the performances she elicits from the tightly formed ensemble offers clarity and focus that is often missing from sung-through musicals. Gone is any approach to be showy or ‘Broadway’ instead the focus is on storytelling through song. That’s not to misconstrue Overfield-Wilkinson’s direction as bound to naturalism- quite the opposite with the surreal moments of songs like ‘March of the Falsettos’ and narrative setting numbers like ‘Four Jews in a Room Bitching’ are accompanied by similarly abstract moments of staging. The design by PJ McEvoy, with a backdrop of framed pictures, filled with projections and actors periodically, allows Overfield-Wilkinson to open up the narrative to incorporate the nuances- and surrealist moments- of Finn and Lapine’s musical, and make sense of them.

It is, as above a musical of two halves. But Overfield-Wilkinson has crafted a version of the musical in which the first half truly heightens the emotion, of the second, while the second retrospectively opens up the storytelling of the first- and explains much more about the characters than is immediately obvious. The first act focuses on Marvin’s struggles with his new life as a gay man and the conflict with still wanting his old life. It’s a classic struggle between the idea of ‘normal’ life and being who you are. Made more interesting decades later, when marriage and children are far easier for gay couples, that there is much to identify with still in Marvin’s struggles still. This production leans into its history and the idea that much has changed, and nothing has changed looms large in the conflicts the characters have- not least that the lesbians don’t appear until Act 2. But the bravery of the direction is not to shy away from the less likable elements of the characters- particularly Marvin, whose behaviour, however much it might be understandable is at times reprehensible. Equally the rest of the family- and interlopers Mendal and Whizzer have presented flaws on show, with little gloss. And that’s what makes the coming together of the ‘tight-knit family’ in Act 2 all the more powerful.

Overfield-Wilkinson’s direction is brought to life by a group of remarkable performers, who work flawlessly as an ensemble but also individually shed new light on these characters. Note should be made first to the four young actors tasked with the role of Jason (Albert Atack, George Kennedy, Elliott Morris, and James Williams). This is not your usual child’s role in musical theatre- Jason has to contend with both a lot of solo stage time, as well as weighty subject matter. And Albert Atack who took on the role for the opening night did so with confidence and understanding of the role beyond his years. Falsettos requires a tight-knit ensemble, all aware of their part in the storytelling to truly work and in the smaller, but significant roles of Cordelia and Charlotte ‘the lesbians from next door’ Natasha J Barnes and Gemma Knight-Jones embody this. Barnes makes good use of the comedy inherent in her role, with a charming engaging performance. While Knight-Jones in the more serious role of a Doctor during the AIDS crisis, gives dramatic weight to her part in that story, along with soaring vocals in her solo numbers.

Alongside Marvin’s family, his ex-wife Trina is played in a masterclass performance by Laura Pitt-Pulford and Joel Montague as psychiatrist Mendel. Montague brings out the ‘master of ceremonies’ element in Mendel’s role. As something of an observer to the proceedings, he acts as storyteller and it’s one that Montague adapts to well. A natural comedian as well, his acts much needed levity. And while the knowing, broad comedy he imbues Mendel with might seem at odds with the subject matter, it is exactly what the piece needs- a light to the dark of the undertones. Montague also hits the right note in the relationship between Mendel and Jason- the jokey-friend-step-Dad particularly in the first act is contrast the strained relationship between Jason and Marvin. Alongside Montague’s comedic turn, Pitt-Pulford slowly unravels and rebuilds Trina with subtly and sensitivity. Although ‘I’m Breaking Down’ is the powerhouse song for Trina- and one that Pitt-Pulford raises the roof on, balancing comedy, heartbreak, and vocals with deceptive ease. It is, however, Act 2’s ‘Holding Onto the Ground’ that is her masterclass performance. A ballad of what she as a part of, and part bystander to, with a raw sense of heartbreak.

Oliver Savile’s Whizzer is understated and less showy than the role as written might suggest. He also gets to the elements underneath the character- a sense of slight discontent with his status as ‘pretty boy’ and ‘substitute wife’ in Marvin’s life. And in his hands ‘The Games I Play’ is a searching reflective piece. We see the ‘trophy boyfriend’ searching and struggling for his place in the world, as much as his partner Marvin. His struggles may be less obvious- as the ‘young free and single’ man, but Savile’s performance reflects Whizzer’s longing for a deeper connection. Savile balances the first and second act contrasts beautifully- his change is more nuanced than Marvin’s but the shift and vulnerability he brings to Whizzer mirrors the change in Marvin. The ending is heartbreaking not just for the connection with Marvin, but for Whizzer too, who Savile embodied with more personality, more nuanced than the character often gets credit for.

Although this is a true ensemble piece, the weight of the play rests on Daniel Boys as Marvin and its one that he carries off with sensitivity and intelligence. His feels like a re-written Marvin. He’s unafraid of the unlikeable elements of the character. Indeed, he embraces them to give a more honest performance- Marvin in act one behaves selfishly often, terribly at times. And nothing in Boys’ performance glosses over that. And with it, the conflict of his identity comes through. And for that, by the time we reach ‘Father to Son’ at the end of act one, you understand why he behaves that way. Perhaps for many identify too. And this approach- the embracing the less likable, makes the tragedy of Boys’ performance all the more powerful- when his Marvin allows himself to be who he is and opens up to love, the tragedy of loss that accompanies it is palpable. And Boys plays that with a mix of anger, regret and still a hint of humour that flows through his whole performance. And it’s one that makes it very real. While there’s no denying the vocal talent-and the beauty of Boys voice- it’s the gut-wrenching honesty with which he sings the final numbers that cement the entire piece.

The piece is filled with masterful performances. And there is much to unpick about the political and historical place of the musical. But really what Falsettos comes down to is the unraveling of Marvin-and the audience at the end. It's the sitting in quiet grief together having been moved so utterly by a story and a performance. That admist poltics, history and noise is what matters. The love at the heart of the story is what matters. 

I said in my last blog that there's something about Falsettos that connects on a viseral level. And this production has cut to the very heart of it- love telling a million stories. 

I rarely give star ratings on this blog. But this one is a whole hearted 5 * for the kind of production never to be bettered. 

Falsettos runs at The Other Palace until 23rd November. 

Yours truly will be giving a post-show talk on 14th October. 

I also wrote for Diva magazine about the women of this show (here) And The Stage about the history of AIDS theatre (here

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

A Tight Knit Family- why Falsettos matters still (and to me)

‘Love can tell a million stories’ or why Falsettos means so much

This isn’t a review- that’ll come later. Some shows you have to put down on a page what they mean, or at least try and make sense of it. Falsettos is one of those.

Falsettos is important because it’s both a record of history, and an honest, and open account that resonates today. While it’s second act and its relationship to the AIDS crisis is what its legacy has become the first act is so important. The story of a gay man- or indeed a bisexual man- wrestling with his identity remains a powerful one. Marvin has come out the other side of the Liberation era, the post- Stonewall New York, and discovered he can ‘come out’. But Marvin isn’t a teenager, he’s been living this life for so long he can’t just walk away. More to the point, he’s got a family- and he still wants a family. In that Falsettos wrestles with a set of questions rarely seen in historical liberation era ‘gay plays’- the idea that a man is torn between the life he had and the life he can have. And the idea of a man realising he’s gay but still loving his family, still wanting one, at this time.

And in this the first act is difficult, often challenging watch. Marvin isn’t always sympathetic, but we can sympathise. He behaves horribly- to his ex-wife, even to his boyfriend. But its behaviour derived of everything he’s been through. Gay men and women didn’t simply just leap out of the closet and suddenly live entirely new lives. And Falsettos addresses that in ways other works still haven’t.

Indeed, the whole idea of a ‘Tight-knit family’ that is unconventional was decades ahead of its time. It’s something we still struggle with- both as a society and personally- the idea of being LGBTQ and having a ‘family’ that may or may not look ‘traditional’ and that is one of the most heart-warming and important lessons Falsettos teaches- the idea that family looks like many things, and can still be as significant as a ‘traditional’ one. Crucially also, it also teaches, that families can go through hard times, and still come together even if, again they don’t look traditional from the outside. So whether it’s your ex-husband’s ex-lover at the baseball game or the ‘lesbians from next door’ family is who you choose, and that’s an important lesson still to learn.

That lesson took me by surprise this time around. How touching the ballad ‘Father to Son’ is. That striving to be both a good father  and what society expects, while being true to yourself was heart-wrenching. Because Falsettos is about family and being who you are. And that touches something very innate, and also primal and personal in all of us. Particularly those who are LGBTQ.

And then there’s Act 2. Rightly so given the way the piece evolved- over 10 years or more- it feels musically and theatrically like two very different pieces. And that works. And when the inevitable hits us- the impact of the AIDS crisis on this community, on this family, it is devastating.

Falsettos doesn’t dress it up in politics or activism, it’s closer to William Hoffman’s As Is in that respect. It just gives us that family’s story. It just gives us that family’s devastation. And after Marvin builds up this tight-knit family it is torn apart. And it doesn’t matter really whether it’s AIDS or any other illness in some respects, we understand that on a base, emotional level, that feeling of being ripped apart.

But it’s important it’s AIDS, it's important that it’s this story, told this way. It’s political in its very existence but important that it’s divorced from the direct politics of the era. It’s stripped back and shown for what AIDS was- the devastation that ripped apart lives. Ripped apart , families. And that, even though you can see the ending coming is what makes it so devastating.

And yet, it’s still a piece that takes me by surprise in the force of it. It’s such a strange thing on many levels, but there’s not a show, other than perhaps Rent and not even then in the same way, that I have such a visceral reaction to. And it took me totally by surprise. I knew the score, the book, inside and out thanks to my research into ‘AIDS theatre’ which was the subject of my PhD. I know Falsettos, it’s that lesser done ‘AIDS musical’ one of those significant but not world-famous pieces around the topic. It’s important but not one I used to be as attached to.

Then I saw the Broadway revival. And somehow somewhere, I was crying more than I’d cried at anything in the theatre, maybe ever. It was from nowhere, this kind of visceral connection with the music and characters that come from only seeing it live.

And so as much as I knew what I was letting myself in for when returning to the production at The Other Palace I wasn’t quite prepared for it, the force of it. I’d especially thought having spent a few weeks with my head ‘in it’ writing two programme essays for it (yes that’s a shameless brag) and writing several articles on it (that’s another one). Part of me though I’d maybe immunised myself.


What began as an (I like to think) artistic Michelle-Williams-in-Fosse-Verdun tears down the cheeks cry…quickly evolved somewhere beyond ugly-crying.

And why?

What is it about this piece, above all others that gets me? And I think it’s just the humanity, and the honesty of Finn and Lapine’s writing. The characters are deeply flawed. Deeply human. And that’s what makes it all the more devastating. We see fractions of ourselves across them all. And in spite of their flaws, feel their pain.

Something in the writing connects on a visceral level like few others. Something as an LGBTQ person about that struggle to find a place in the world. Something about reaching back and connecting with our history. And something about being human, and loving and losing. And not just partners or lovers. When the four sing ‘Unlikely Lovers’ or Marvin asks ‘what would I do if you had not been my friend?’ it connects, like a knife to the heart, to everyone we’ve loved and lost. But especially I think anyone who has had to fight to love, to be loved, and be who they are.

Falsettos ultimately is our greatest wish and our greatest fear-family and losing that family. It’s a desire to be loved, and be who we are. And the battles we go through to get there. And it’s losing the one thing you longed for most in the world, seconds after finally getting there. And that’s devastating. 

And Falsettos is history. It’s a lesson in where we’ve come from, what a community went through. Told through one tight-knit but unconventional family.

And so that's why, even after all this time, this jaded 'Doctor of AIDS theatre' has to sit biting her hand to stop from sobbing aloud at the end of this show. That's why the tears stream down my face long after, it's something both past and present that I still connect to so powerfully. And I'm so grateful to have it back. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Death of a Salesman- Young Vic

Once more for those in the back

Death of a Salesman was never a naturalistic drama.

Once more

Death of a Salesman was never a naturalistic drama.

So, for all those admirable productions with a detailed period house set (with no disrespect to the Miller further down The Cut) and played beat for beat as a living room drama (with no disrespect to every Amdram production ever) it was never written that way. For Theatre Fact Fans out there it was originally titled ‘Inside his head’ which is both a more intriguing and one that lulls the audience into something of a slightly more optimistic frame of mind for the tone of the evening.

Of course, optimism is in short supply in this Miller play (well all of them honestly) but so is naturalism in this new version. And it is a revelation.

For anyone who has been under a rock for the last couple of years in London theatre, this stripping back to the essence of a classic is one of Marianne Elliott’s (many) talents. And here with Salesman, with co-director Miranda Cromwell, the play is written again from the ground up. Without changing a word.

A dramatic pause for acknowledgment of a leading director of our time co-directing with a colleague she has worked with on a number of productions. And a moment of pause for women in the field leading the way in supporting, collaborating and all around getting the job done?

Back to the play. The key element of this production is of course the recalibrating the play with the Lomans being a Black working-class family. While of course, Elliott/Cromwell’s direction brings out the other facets of Miller’s script, it is changing this one crucial factor that shifts it on its axis.

Nothing in the script has been changed, and while the direction plays with the presentation it’s the lens the audience- and the actors- view it through that shifts it. Suddenly the cultural identity is so different. Suddenly every word and gesture is imbued with additional or shifted meaning. It would take a thesis to unravel it all (and this reviewer is a bit tied up with another of Elliott’s productions for that right now). But what is truly impressive is the weight with which the production runs with a thesis worth of discussion, research and work this team have done to make that so. As much as it’s innate in the changing the Lomans’ identity, this production never heaves under the weight of it, but the work, the knowledge both intellectual and cultural that is behind it is apparent. And so instead the audience don’t need to do the work to make any leap, it’s all there in Miller’s text and the text of the performance.

And so Salesman is given a new life. Both in a direction that writes it back to how it was written. And a re-framing that gives it new life.

With a Black family at the heart of it, every decision, every obstacle is given new weight and inference. And it makes for a fascinating unraveling. Are Willy’s dreams wrong because he’s a man of the wrong skin colour, not because he’s directed his energies in the wrong way? Are his clients disappearing, his bosses recoiling because he is Black? And what of Charley, the one man who does not- he’s now not just a benevolent friend, but perhaps a man ahead of his time? What of his sons? Caught in a world where they can see the struggles clearly, be angry at them, but are decades away from any real progress? When Willy has an affair, it’s with a white woman, and what are the implications of that? And what of Linda, not only a working-class 1940s housewife, but a Black woman, and where does that situate her? But that the Loman’s have managed to own, and ultimately, but tragically, pay off their house, where has that put them amidst their peers… And so on and so on. With every line and gesture.

Meanwhile, the approach of the direction is to firmly ground the play in Willy’s mind. Leaning into the abstract, the flashbacks memories and other intrusions appear as if on a home movie, or an unwanted dream or a moment of hysterical re-living a moment. They are at moments non-sequitur in their appearance and for moments nonsensical. At times there are moments of confusion between past and present. And that finally feels like the play as written once again-the lurching confusion of the mind writ large on the page. This also creates some beautiful imagery- most notably the flashbacks to the sons: each one becomes a home movie flickering in freeze frame before coming to life, and again before disappearing. It’s a beautiful and affecting image that sums up the way the play plays with Loman’s mind.

The direction is beautifully stripped back and deceptively simple, along with the staging from Anna Fleischle’s set speaks to the audience as clearly as any of the company. A hallmark of Elliott’s direction, that the set serves the play but is also a voice in it as well. Again, as with much of Elliott’s work, it’s deceptively minimalist. The greyscale backdrop resists the tendency much staging of Miller goes for- to encase it in trappings of the time. But the set is alive and ‘speaks’ to the story- furniture rises and falls, not quite meeting the set when we expect it to. It falls back leaving only the ominous boiler in full view. The bedrooms are grey blocks, suggesting for the sons a sense of transience, not a lived in space. For Willy and Linda, an absence of comfort in the bedroom, adds a poignant note.  The abstraction works as well to move between the ‘rooms’ of Willy’s mind. He steps out into the yard, and it’s fifteen years earlier with a gesture from him rather than a scene change. Miller’s words, and the rich performances flesh out the world rather than needing physical set. And once again this reminds us, this was never supposed to be a literal text, it’s an interpretation of narrative, past and present filtered through Willy’s mind. And so, we don’t need a detailed 1950s set or fully working kitchen to know when and where we are. The text and the performances do that for us. We see the Brooklyn yard without the need for grass. And the subtle movements of the set offer an additional layer of narrative. As the floating pieces of furniture lower for the final scene it becomes a poignant reminder that the house is paid for, that they are ‘free’. Equally the revelation that the grey-square at centre stage, used in various scenes for various purposes has all along been Loman’s grave is chilling and emotionally resonant.

It's a production built in layers. Sets speak alongside actors, but also a production united with music. Performed live and composed by MOBO award nominated artist Femi Temowo, music is integral to Elliott/Cromwell’s storytelling. From Jazz numbers to a filmic scoring of the play that reflects Willy’s state of mind- transporting him to other times and places, betraying his confusion and offering a transition between those worlds or states of mind. What it also offers is a layer of cultural identity- Miller didn’t write this for or about a Black family, but there are authentic ways to create that world and music is one of them.

Holding together the production are of course the performances. And it is a production, everything else aside worth seeing for the masterclass performances. Martins Imhangbe and Arinze Kene as Happy and Biff Loman respectively. In particular, their rapport indicates the closeness of the brothers from years past. They play the teenage Biff and Happy with a wide-eyed sincerity. They segue from their present day to the sepia-tinged teenage versions seamlessly but each with physical performances that indicate their youth when in flashback. It’s an interesting and notable point that physically Kene is clearly athletic, gym-honed and instead of the former ‘Adonis’ past his prime post-High School his Biff, in terms of physicality alone, is still holding on to that part of his life. The forever-Jock who never quite moved on. And this-largely probably coincidental- detail of the actor’s physique adds another layer of discussion to Biff and who he is. Buff-Biff is still Biff past his prime, which Kene plays pitch perfectly and fuelled with anger, but he’s also a Biff still holding onto something.

For both sons, there’s an earnestness to their commitment to All-Americanism that is more poignant for these working-class Black men of this time. And Imhangbe, in particular, offers a studied reflective performance that posits Happy as acutely aware of his place in current society, and what he will have to do to overcome it.  

Wrapped up in both their identities are elements of toxic masculinity  and the expectations of ‘being a man’. Happy is fuelled by chasing women- and by his own skill at it but doesn’t find true fulfillment there. Biff conflicted by a desire to work the land, and the lessons he’s been taught about success. That both are now doing this in the face of the racial prejudices of 1940s America, that they are the generation after their parents own hard-won battles, but before the strikes for equality of the 1960s- both young men will be ‘past their prime’ before any of those benefits are seen- adds another layer of conflict to where they find themselves. Both caught between their instincts and what they should or truly want to be, unable to do either by their own hand but more so by society’s.

Overseeing all this is Sharon D Clarke whose take on Linda Loman that highlights her strength. Rather than a victim watching life unravel around her, Linda is, in fact, holding everything together. In the text, Linda holds the household, the finances, their sons even Willy himself together. As written, there’s not a moment of weakness in her. And Clarke shows the strength in that- made particularly poignant as a working-class Black woman held hostage by society. She instead takes charge of what she can and refuses to give in to victimhood.

All of this is held together by Wendell Pierce’s central performance as Loman. An affable and charming incarnation of the character. He is funny, and charming and this amplifies his pain. There’s a quiet determination and a quiet deterioration to Pierce’s portrayal, and a frightening and upsetting knowledge that he can see his own unravelling but is powerless to rectify it. He plays the anger, the desperation of Willy with an eye to both the man he used to be and the man he wants to be. The heart of the conflict in Willy is precisely that- who he is, who he wishes he was, and of course how others see him. And Pierce walks that line- that confusion and conflict perfectly. There is something beautiful in the moments he smiles, a relief, a glimpse into something pure and untarnished within perhaps that he lets Willy have. Making it harder to bear when the rest comes crashing back over. Playing madness is easy, playing a mind unraveling and still retaining control of it, that’s hard. And that’s what Pierce does. It’s a considered, careful performance, but also one full of heart- and one that pulls the audience along with Willy, and in spite of no doubt knowing how things will end up, willing things to work out for him in spite of it.

Drifting ethereally in and out of Willy’s mind is of course Uncle Ben. Played by Joseph Mydall in a resplendent white suit and hat. His outfit marking him out clearly as ‘other, ethereal’ in ever since in Willy’s mind. The unattainable, but also the antithesis of what Willy has become, even what he aspired to be- Ben is too larger than life, outside the norm while Willy has always longed to just belong. While Ben has embraced his difference, embraced risk, Willy has shied away…and the question left hanging about which was safer remains. (Theatre Fact Fans might be pleased to note that Mydall was, of course, original Belize in Angels in America, in a neat colliding of theatrical links we know and love…and that suit wouldn’t have been out of place on him either).

It is the strength of the directors that despite the concept-driven idea behind the production, it is the performances they let carry it. There is enough going on with the layers of meaning attached to this version of the play. There is enough to take in, to work with in the staging. But none of it drowns Miller’s words for one second. Both the performances and the direction serve the writing and that’s vital. Plays become enduring classics for a reason, and this might breathe new life into this classic, but Elliott/Cromwell are mindful to respect and work with the elements that made it so.

Some plays, moreover some productions are made to hit you over the head. Some seep into your bones instead. And that’s what Salesman does. Intellectually it doesn’t batter you with questions, with provocations, even in this incarnation it just sits with those questions, those statements, letting them unravel and go home with an audience. Equally the emotion is never piled on, it’s insidious, slowly seeping in and building. And so, when it hits the effect is devastating.

And that really, is the mark of re-writing a classic.  That really is the point of revival. Another Miller will be along in a minute (heck there’s one up the road if you need a double bill, though I don’t recommend it for a happy state of mind). There will always be more revivals, always be new ways to re-write the classics. But some have sticking power. And just imagine, if this was the first version of this play you got to see…that’s a powerful thing.


I'm still enjoying doing these for my own enjoyment. I'll keep it short because i appreciate this review is almost as long as the play itself. 

I struggle with classics. I'm not 'classically educated' in the 'canon' having skipped a drama A Level and Degree. Having not been raised in a theatre-going world. I worry that I don't understand them. That there are huge gaps in my knowledge. And I fear writing on them or speaking about them for that. So I'm forever grateful for productions like this, which present them simply as intended; as a play. With a new approach that makes us do it the old fashioned way, by watching a story unravel. 

And that's what I also took from this revisiting a 'classic'; the strength of 'old fashioned theatre' and 'old fashioned storytelling' There's nothing old fashioned in this production. Arguably there's nothing old fashioned or dated in Miller's writing- that's why we go back to it. But amid a sea of what I charmingly term 'pretentious wank' it is a revelation to be able to sit, with characters and hear their stories, be moved by them, learn from them, think because of them. That's why I love theatre, love writing. And it's nice now and then to be reminded you can have a fresh approach, but still, tell stories. Still, unite an audience in a room and move them with that. It's simple and so difficult. And that's why gasp-crying at the end of Salesman is so powerful. And why I was really grateful to encounter it when I did; a reminder I don't, we collectively don't have to bow to trends and indeed pretentious wank. The power is still in stories. Told well. 

Death of a Salesman has sold out! It runs until 13th July and The Young Vic puts £10 tickets on sale weekly. See their website here 

Disclosure: I purchased these Death of a Salesman tickets myself.

I have a Ko-Fi account should you wish to contribute. Here 

Falsettos: The Other Palace 5*

The genesis of  Falsettos  over 12 years as William Finn developed his original story  In Trousers  in1979, to create  March of the...