Falling Stars is a new musical cabaret show written and conceived by Peter Polycarpou featuring “forgotten” songs written mostly in the 1920s. The songs capture the post-Spanish Flu era with their yearning to forget the past but never letting go of love, comedy, and above all hope. Whilst the current pandemic is still raging, Falling Stars is a beautiful reminder that there will be better times ahead.
The show takes base in Polycarpou’s memory, as he stumbles across an old songbook in an antique shop on East Finchley High Street. As he flips through the pages the songs come to life, evoking the sense of long-gone glamour but timeless beauty of these melodies. The shopkeeper and fellow singer, Sally Ann Triplett, joins in, and together they take us on a journey of these hidden gems.
This hour-long musical cabaret sprinkles in few very well-known hits like Chaplin’s Smile and Youmans’ Tea for Two but truly takes flight with the lesser-known ballads. Triplett treats us to a beautiful rendition of the title song, Falling Star, from Chaplin’s movie The Great Dictator. Polycarpou’s Eternally from Chaplin’s Limelight is full of romantic passion. In the ballads, we truly get to love the mastery of the melody and wonder why we might have forgotten these songs. Chaplin takes the main bulk of the evening’s material but one of the highlights of the evening is You Know You Belong to Someone Else So Why Don’t You Leave Me Alone, and this duet bursts with showbiz razzle dazzle. And no wonder since the original french lyric has been brought to life by none other than Arthur Freed of Singin’ in the Rain fame.
Falling Stars has been expertly put together in three days, under the lockdown restrictions, at the Union Theatre in London. Michael Strassen’s direction and staging translate effortlessly onto the camera, making it very easy to feel the charisma and the warmth of the seasoned performers. Whilst streaming is currently our only hope to feed our hunger for these beautiful intimate moments of storytelling, this reviewer has no doubt this show will be in front of a live audience immediately when it is possible.
Life has a funny way of hiding beauty in places where you least expect, and it appears it can even lurk in an old and dusty antique shop. But one thing is sure. Diamonds never lose their lustre.
The show is available on Stream.Theatre for two weeks (1st – 14th Feb).
Review: Jari Laakso Photo: Paul Nicholas Dyke