Falling Stars at Stream.Theatre
It is perhaps not surprising that one should experience a heightened sense of nostalgia during the constrictions of the second Coronavirus lockdown – not knowing when it will finally end leaves us yearning for a world where we could go out and enjoy the wonders of the West End. Falling Stars fulfils that longing perfectly, offering a paper-thin frame story as an excuse to perform some of the greatest hits of early 20th century musical theatre, and making this a heartfelt and well-performed trip down memory lane.
Written by and starring Peter Polycarpou, the show is essentially a collage of great musical numbers: from Charlie Chaplin’s eponymous Falling Star to Vincent Youmans’s Tea for Two, and from What’ll I Do? by Irving Berlin to The Sheikh by Ted Snyder, there’s something for virtually everyone to enjoy. It certainly helps that Polycarpou and his co-star Sally Ann Triplett have wonderful chemistry, and sing and dance their numbers with finesse.
Unfortunately there’s nothing much else to the show. The frame narrative is so irrelevant that it’s largely forgotten past the first few minutes, after which we are presented with a lot of dates and names – when the songs were composed, who delivered them… It occasionally feels like a clip show and, other than a lot of name-dropping, it offers little value outside of the songs themselves – fantastic news for people seeking to indulge in the most shameless nostalgia, but it does little for a regular viewership. It’s a pity, considering it wouldn’t take much to neatly fit these numbers together, and that the cast is fantastic. The general production – directed by Michael Strassen – is of equally high quality, making one wish that they had put more effort into the plot.
But none of this distracts from the fact that the musical material remains excellent, even after almost a hundred years, and that Polycarpou and Triplett are brilliant together, offering a delicious selection of some of the greatest hits of the early 20th century – overall a joy.
Photos: Paul Nicholas Dyke
Falling Stars is available to view online from 22nd November until 29th November 2020. For further information or to book visit Stream.Theatre’s website here.