Musik at the Edinburgh Festival
Musik is a new one woman show with 4 new songs by the Pet Shop Boys and book by Jonathan Harvey. It follows the story of Billie Trix who appeared in their previous show, Closer to Heaven and looks back on her outrageous career. She talks about her move from Berlin to both Paris and London, her love affairs with numerous artists and even Trump.
We are told that Warhol was given his inspiration for his Campbell’s Soup painting by Trix, that Madonna idolising her musicality and stole the eye patch from her and that it was her who planted the idea of a wall in Trump’s brain. The show was littered with references of artists and performers, with jokes woven into the narrative regarding them.
I was rather too young to have caught the original Closer to Heaven so admittedly I was possibly not the target audience for Musik and I was unaware of her origins. However this shouldn’t have mattered but it felt like it did. It came across as lacking context and left me feeling confused throughout the show as to who Billie Trix actually was or what she was supposed to have done to be so famous. The show felt relentless and doesn’t stop for breath at all.
Frances Barber originated Billie in the original production of Closer To Heaven and she is back on stage in Musik. Her portrayal of Billie fits perfectly with the script, cocky and absorbed in delusion you easily believe that Trix is in front of you and that Barber is her.
The music, written by the Pet Shop boys breaks up the narrative and the music is often random. We get an electro-pop/disco number ‘Ich Bin Musik’ as well as the number ‘Cover Me With Camomile’ which is strangely repeated throughout the show. Considering the pop prestige of the writers I would have liked numbers that stuck in my head, I had sadly expected more from the Pet Shop Boys.
Musik was unfortunately a let down, with forgettable songs and a frenzied dialogue that not even Barber’s dedicated performance could save.
Musik is on at Bijou, Assembly Rooms from 21:40 – 22:40 and is transferring to Leicester Square Theatre from 3-7th September.