The Landor Theatre in Clapham is one hell of a cool haunt. Recently refurbished, this venue has never looked better. The theatre is above the Landor Pub, a friendly space with an expansive beer garden, convenient for interval drinks. Artistic Director Robert McWhir keeps the focus on housing musical theatre.
This production marks the 21st anniversary of Closer than Ever. The show is an award-winning musical revue, featuring 25 memorable songs by composers Maltby and Shire. Closer than Ever, which contains no dialogue, was described by the writers as a “bookless book musical”.
It presents the lives of four friends, and through self-contained songs tells of diverse real life topics like mid-life crises, working couples, unrequited love and ageing. The intimate nature of the theatre space means you are just a metre or two away from the actors on stage all the time. I could see every little expression and gesture making the show a lot more believable and affecting.
The cast is made up of experienced West End stars – Clare Burt, Michael Cahill, Ria Jones and Glyn Kerslake. Ria Jones was, for me, the most striking but then again she had all the best numbers. Miss Byrd, which is surely the most well-known song was delivered with devilish charm and cheek and was a complete pleasure to watch. I also loved Patterns in the second act, a stark realisation about life and its inevitable let-downs.
Closer than Ever runs at the Landor Theatre until Saturday 9 October.