Discover the span of universal highs and lows faced by us all through the experiences that life throws at us – love, heartache, fear, growing up and growing old – in a brand new production of Maltby and Shire’s musical revue, Closer Than Ever.
It’s amazing how society seemingly goes round in circles, as despite being written in 1989 this show seems incredibly of the moment. The struggles of dating and preserving relationships never change, and even keeping fit has returned as a fad. The show even finds links with the #MeToo movement, although the song itself, that questions how negatively used animalistic terms actually depict strong working mothers, bordered on lecturing.
The score is first-rate, as you’d expect from film and stage composer David Shire. A great mix of jazz and musical theatre that has enough light and shade in the different numbers to garner some emotion from the piece. One standout piece, Out of My Mind With Love, apparently starts as a love song and turns into the tale of a stalker, demonstrating how Maltby and Shire work well together, and exquisitely performed by Samuel Haughton.
The cast, a group of six, are superb. Harriet Watson in particular has some wonderful solo moments with a stunning voice. Alastair Natkiel performs a delicate piece about losing a father with great care and Sue Appleby gives a sophisticated performance throughout. Katriona Perrett perfectly details the way fleeting romances make you feel in Miss Byrd and Michael Larcombe provides some comedic moments, although I wish I could have seen a bit more from him in this piece.
Maltby and Shire’s Closer Than Ever is a nice mix of funny, sincere, sweet and sentimental, with stunning performances and the perfect music to lose yourself in for an hour or so at the Fringe.
Closer Than Ever is at PQA Venues @Riddles Court (PQA One) as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 27 August. Tickets available online.
My Edinburgh trip was supported by the Network of Independent Critics! Find out more about their work here.
Photo credit: Charlotte Hughes