Tuesday, July 5

Falling Stars – Union Theatre

How can just two people command a stage and put on such a wonderful production in such a short time? Written and conceived by the male lead, Peter Polycarpou, who along with his female co-star Sally-Ann Triplett gave us a night and a show which will live on in the memory for a long time to come. Both are well established performers in their own right and their combined talents have resulted in an unforgettably entertaining history of the music from the glorious era of 1920’s musicals.

The show has been put together in just three days and after the first day of rehearsals, Lockdown 2 was announced in England which put paid to many of the ideas for this production. The show’s title is taken from a Charlie Chaplin song and tells the story of the discovery of an old songbook found hidden away in an antique shop in the east end of London and we are then guided through the re-discovered gems found within its pages. Songs famous and newly discovered by writers and composers too numerous to name individually (you will have to read the credits yourselves to get all the names) are brought to life in a brilliantly evocative production which goes some way to showing us why they were called “The Roaring Twenties”.

This show contained not only outstanding musical performances but was also imbued with lots of subtle humour along the way, which we should not be surprised about knowing the writer’s background, and there was some brilliant comic interplay between the two cast members throughout. I particularly enjoyed Sally-Ann Triplett’s brief but highly accurate parody of Judy Garland performing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz”, this had me in absolute stiches! Peter Polycarpou’s comic genius is well known and shines through during the whole of this performance.

I was amazed at the sheer volume of musical numbers within this show, many of which I had forgotten about. There were so many times during the show when songs were introduced and I would gasp and say, “I love this song!” I was also introduced to a number of songs for the first time and I am grateful for Mr. Polycarpou’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the music of this era in selecting which songs to include from such a huge volume of potential material. In addition, another person who deserves a mention is the musical director Mr. Robert Emery whose piano playing brought the whole musical experience to life and should take a lot of credit for the success of the performances of those on stage.

Through the wonders of social media, I have recently become acquainted with a musical theatre performer who now lives in Australia who has herself worked with the director of this production and her words to me were, “Anything Michael Strassen touches is golden so you are in for a treat”. I can only endorse these sentiments and can wholeheartedly recommend this show. Miss it and regret it. Even without any interaction with a live audience, this was an outstanding experience and credit must go to all involved and particularly the writer and lead, Peter Polycarpou. http://uniontheatre.biz/falling-stars.html

Reviewer: David S. Clarke

Reviewed: 19th November 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★