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Closer Than Ever – Landor Theatre, London

Lyrics by: Richard Maltby

Music: David Shire

Director: Robert McWhir

Reviewer: Jenni Rymer


The second show at the Landor Theatre’s summer season is the highly acclaimed 21st anniversary production of the hit ‘off Broadway’ musical; ‘Closer Than Ever’.

Creators; Richard Maltby and David Shire based many of the songs on experiences that they themselves and their friends had gone through, making this one the most true to life, straight talking musicals you will ever have the pleasure of viewing.

‘Closer than Ever’ is a 2 act musical revue, consisting of 24 fantastic self contained songs. Each song portrays its own personal story of the various highs and lows of love and life. Each lyric is so intelligently written and delivered you cannot help but be swept away by its blunt realism.

The whole show was so slick and professionally done it is difficult to not be impressed. The set and lighting design was simple but perfect, for each prop, picture and bare light bulb paid reverence to the emotional and also comical stories being told.

The intimate space at The Landor and the superb direction of Robert McWhir can also be credited for setting the scene and allowing you to become completely absorbed in the individual masterpieces being unfolded before you. A rare atmosphere was created where you felt you were part of the stories being told.

Despite such high praise I do begrudgingly have to mention that I was a little concerned when the show started as the opening number; ‘Doors’ was a tad cringey and I have to admit I had a moment of fear that I was going to be in for an evening of cheese, and not in the cheddar sense of the word. Fortunately I am pleased to report that I was pleasantly surprised as it panned out to be quite the opposite.

Ria Jones’ cheekily fabulous performances in the fantastically written; ‘You Wanna Be My Friend’ and ‘Miss Byrd’ will literally have you crying with laughter. Other stand out moments include the emotional rendition of ‘Father of Father’s’ delivered by Michael Cahill, Glyn Kerslake, and the multi talented David Randall, not to mention the heart wrenching tale of ‘Life Story’ stunningly conveyed by Clare Burt.

This is a thought provoking musical. I would challenge anyone who claims that they have not been affected in any way by any of the life experiences expertly showcased in ‘Closer Than Ever.’ The wonderfully intimate setting of The Landor, truly inspiring lyrics, faultless musical performances and the fantastic professionalism of the cast and stage hands comes together to create a masterpiece. If I were allowed just one sentence for this review it would be- Go see it, go see it now!’

Runs until: Saturday 9th October 2010.

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