Hysterically honest and beautiful. That sums up Closer than Ever at The Pheasantry perfectly.
Putting together a great show is made easier when you have fantastic music and lyrics, and this show has it in armfuls. Maltby and Shire are true veterans of the musical theatre world and their gorgeous score is the foundation for a rather fantastic show.
This six hander (I say six hander as, although the cast officially consists of Wendy Carr, Richard Carson, Emily Chesterton and Nicholas Corre, Nick Barstow doubles as cast and musical director fantastically and bassist Doug Weekes has a cameo in one of the songs so it is very much a group effort) is a force to be reckoned with in full company numbers. A particular favourite of mine being “There’s Nothing Like It”, which had the audience in pieces and each actor commanded the stage so that we had four equally interesting storylines to follow. This seemed to be a theme throughout the show, that no matter the number, each actor took to the stage with ease which gave the show the intimate feeling a revue like this needs.
The show is hilarious. The writing is brilliant and executed perfectly by the cast. Richard Carson in particular, had the audience in the palm of his hand when doing “What Am I Doing?”. He displayed genuine honesty in the character regardless of its comic nature. The writing is extremely clever and he trusted in that, not falling back on gimmicks.
This show may be silly at times, but at its base it is truly intelligent comical writing and I found that the cast sat on this very well.
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These comical numbers were then contrasted by some beautiful songs of a more serious nature, and these were equally as entertaining. “If I Sang”, for example, (sung by Nicholas Corre), was completely heartbreaking and took the audience on more of a journey than some full-length shows could hope to achieve. Yet he does so with ease. The changing of tone between comedy numbers and those of a more serious nature was done brilliantly throughout the show and I think this is thanks to the cast being wonderfully generous with each other and allowing the storytelling of the piece to be a shared job, rather than a single individual fighting for their story to be heard.
Review by Kara Taylor Alberts
Closer Than Ever: Produced by Neil Eckersley with musical direction by Nick Barstow and stars Wendy Carr (Princess Ida), Richard Carson (Miss Saigon, Wicked), Emily Chesterton (Shout! The Mod Musical) and Nicholas Corre (Book of Mormon, Bar Mitzvah Boy).
Closer Than Ever
152 King’s Rd
London SW3 4UT