View From UpStairs
Reality Rating: 4/5
Fidget Factor: 0.2
Some Kind Of Paradise
A chained up male mannequin glitters with sparkling genitals, a chandelier twinkles with a rainbow of sex toys and a tassel trimmed piano takes centre stage. Immersed immediately into a 1970’s gay bar, we wish we could drink into the early hours among Jason Sherwood’s scenic design. Illuminated with several bar signs and cluttered with a collection of bar tables, Sherwood sends us back in time and we’re happy to be there.
Falling in love is so powerful, it can be done over different decades. When Wes decides to buy a burnt down bar for his new fashion collection, it’s characters from the past that make him realise his potential. 1973 is a dangerous time to be gay, to dress as a drag queen, to be any sort of different. Henri’s bar acts as a sanctuary; a safe place to be free from the prejudice of outsiders. Praying for a better tomorrow, each punter at this bar has their own reason to hope for a more promising future.
Vernon’s musical uses the tragedies of the past to highlight the mistakes of the future. Unafraid to speak out against the new presidency and its followers, this production makes a clear statement on the dangers to come. Whilst angry at the real possibility of racial hate growing, feminism sinking and being unique becoming a curse – The View UpStairs rallies its audience into a strong feeling of support for one another, igniting the fight against political oppression.
Scott Ebersold has directed this production to feel intimate, ensuring each of the characters have their time to shine and connect with the audience. Using the entire space to interact and move through. Drama, music and lyric are combined to create a thrilling experience.
Frenchie Davis owns a stunning voice, sure to send tingles through your spine. Belting out several numbers during the production, I wish we could have heard more of Henri’s story. Taylor Frey makes the misunderstood, heart throb Patrick, utterly desirable. When Patrick’s story turns sour, Frey changes from a flirtatious, sweet man to a damaged young boy – performed with tangible emotion and a striking sense of heartache. A voice to match his performance, Frey is outstanding during this production. Jeremy Pope gets off to a rocky start with the first musical number falling flat, yet later performs one of the most moving songs of the show with angelic tones. The wonderfully over enthused ‘old queen’, Willie is fabulously ridiculous. Clowning around with the audience, we enjoy every moment Nathan Lee Graham milks.
Max Vernon’s latest musical is inspired by a true story, one that can only be revealed by the production itself as to not ruin the surprises and shocks.
The View UpStairs is a magical, moving production that provokes important debates and a feeling of camaraderie. Get Off Broadway and immerse yourself back in 1973.
Click for Tix: @Lynn Redgrave
Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Running: 28 FEB 17 ► 21 MAY 17
♥ Thank you to Melissa for exploring this show with me