Closer Than Ever
Closer Than Ever
On the 26th April 2016 I attended The Pheasantry to see Closer Than Ever. As a huge musical theatre fan I was thrilled to be given an opportunity to see a piece I was not familiar with. Closer Than Ever is a song cycle by Maltby & Shire which focuses on love, relationships and the passing of time, a sort of cross between Songs For A New World and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The show is performed by a cast of 4, Wendy Carr, Richard Carson, Emily Chesterton and Nicholas Corre and supported by their MD, Nick Barstow on keys and Doug Weekes on bass.
The show was simply set, a small cabaret style stage, 4 microphones and a piano and bass on stage yet a song cycle like this is perfect for this type of venue allowing you to really get up close to the performers in an intimate setting.
The music is this show is brilliantly varied, from strong character driven comedy numbers such as ‘What Am I Doin’?’ and ‘Miss Byrd,’ to beatifically crafted lyrical numbers such as ‘Patterns,’ and ‘Fathers of Fathers.’ There was also a range of solos, duets and group numbers resulting in some enchanting harmony singing.
All of the cast worked well together, though vastly different in performance style they each complimented the other. Emily Chesterton was brilliantly watchable, with a glint in her and the perfect amount of sass I cannot understand how I have not seen more of her….hopefully one to watch in the future. Her comic timing in ‘You Want To Be My Friend,’ had me laughing out loud and her smooth vocals in ‘Back on Bass,’ just oozed sex. Wendy Carr had a beautiful soprano voice that soared over the other performers when they were in close harmony.
The gentlemen of the cast were equally as strong. I had recently seen Nicolas Corre in Bar Mitzvah Boy and am already a fan of his work. He didn’t let me down in this show and although the show was delivered in a cabaret style setting, with each song he performed you felt as if you really got a whole story out of him. The final performer was Richard Carson. Carson has the perfect look for a musical theatre leading man but rather than simply stick to type the songs he showed his skills by delivering numbers ranging from someone with stalker tendencies in ‘What Am I Doin’’ to one of the girls in ‘Three Friends.’
I cannot let the review pass without mentioning the MD, pianist and occasional singer, Nick Barstow. I left wanting to hear more of his voice and he did a solid job of the musical direction.
Performances like this show how a fortune does not always need to be spent on set, lighting and huge venues in order to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable night of entertainment and that all that really matters is the piece and the talent of those producing and performing the piece.