Review: Closer to Heaven, Union Theatre

“It’s so vulgar. I love it”

There’s not a ticket to be had for the Union Theatre’s production of Closer to Heaven, the entire run selling out well in advance, which would seem to indicate the Pet Shop Boys have more fans than might have been expected. My 3 star review for Official Theatre can be read here which covers the sharp and sexy choreography, the tuneful score and the woeful book. Also be warned, only sit in the front row if you’re a fan of direct eye contact and nipples.

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 23rd May, run currently sold out

fosterIAN awards 2012

 WinnerRunner-upOther nominees
Best Actress in a PlayKate O’Flynn, LungsLaurie Metcalf, Long Day’s Journey Into NightHattie Morahan, A Doll’s House
Helen McCrory, Last of the Haussmans
Cate Blanchett, Big and Small
Sally Hawkins, Constellations
Best Actor in a PlayLuke Treadaway, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeRafe Spall, ConstellationsBilly Carter, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me
David Suchet, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Hugh Ross, A Life
Dominic Rowan, A Doll’s House
Best Supporting Actress in a PlayNiamh Cusack, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLaura Howard, Lost in YonkersRuth Sheen, In Basildon
Nicola Walker, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Katie Brayben, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Open Air)
Fenella Woolgar, Hedda Gabler
Best Supporting Actor in a PlayPaul Chahidi, Twelfth Night (Globe)Charles Edwards, This HouseRobin Soans, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me
Rory Kinnear, Last of the Haussmans
Cyril Nri, Julius Caesar
Olly Alexander, Mercury Fur
Best Actress in a MusicalCarly Bawden, My Fair LadyJanie Dee, Hello, Dolly!Caroline O’Connor, Gypsy
Anna Francolini, Victor/Victoria
Rosalie Craig, Ragtime
Jenna Russell, Merrily We Roll Along
Best Actor in a MusicalSimon Russell Beale, Privates on ParadeMark Umbers, Merrily We Roll AlongRichard Dempsey, Victor/Victoria
Julian Ovenden, Finding Neverland
Will Young, Cabaret
Dominic West, My Fair Lady
Best Supporting Actress in a MusicalClare Foster, Merrily We Roll AlongBonnie Langford, 9 to 5Josefina Gabrielle, Merrily We Roll Along
Debbie Kurup, The Bodyguard
Helena Blackman, A Winter’s Tale
Laura Pitt-Pulford, Hello, Dolly!
Best Supporting Actor in a MusicalMichael Xavier, Hello, Dolly!Damian Humbley, Merrily We Roll AlongAlistair Brookshaw, A Winter’s Tale
Stuart Matthew Price, Sweet Smell of Success
Ben Kavanagh, Boy Meets Boy
Oliver Boot, Finding Neverland

2012 Best Supporting Actor in a Play + in a Musical

Best Supporting Actor in a Play 

Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
All the pre-show buzz about the Globe’s Twelfth Night was around Mark Rylance’s Olivia and Stephen Fry’s Malvolio, perhaps unfairly so given its ensemble nature. But the breakout star was undoubtedly Paul Chahidi as Maria, a deliciously wry and finely-tuned comic performance that still ranks as one of the funniest things I saw all year.

Honourable mention: Charles Edwards, This House
If anyone can make you feel sympathy for a Tory politician, it was bound to be Charles Edwards. Bringing a gentlemanly honour that one can’t really imagine existing in today’s political classes, his performance stood out in a genuinely strong ensemble and the temptation to go and see it again once the show transfers to the Olivier is strong.

Robin Soans, Someone To What Over Me 
Rory Kinnear, The Last of the Haussmans
Cyril Nri, Julius Caesar
Olly Alexander, Mercury Fur

7-10
Kieran Bew, King Lear; Paul Ritter, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; Jonathan Coy, The Magistrate; Tom Goodman-Hill, The Effect

 

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Michael Xavier, Hello, Dolly!
Another performer who had an excellent year, Xavier is becoming one of those actors who for me is a must-see in whatever he’s in – this year I went to Milton Keynes and Leicester for him (Soho was less of a trek…) and as the endearingly goofy Cornelius in this, probably my most favourite of musicals, he made sure it was more than worth the effort.

Honourable mention: Damian Humbley, Merrily We Roll Along
In one of the most strongly cast musicals anywhere in recent years, the whole character ensemble of Merrily… were of exceptional quality and in perhaps one of the less showy roles in the show, Humbley more than made his mark with a sterling rendition of ‘Franklin Shepherd Inc’.

Alistair Brookshaw, A Winter’s Tale
Stuart Matthew Price, Sweet Smell of Success
Ben Kavanagh, Boy Meets Boy
Oliver Boot, Finding Neverland

7-10
Stewart Wright, Swallows and Amazons; Anthony Calf, My Fair Lady; John Marquez, Ragtime; Adam Garcia, Kiss Me Kate

Review: Boy Meets Boy, Jermyn Street Theatre

“You’ve been free, now it’s time to get married”

Just a stone’s throw away from Piccadilly Circus, the intimate Jermyn Street Theatre has quietly been building a reputation for quality productions with a focus on unknown and forgotten classics and recently scored a massive success with the stage premiere of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall which subsequently transferred into the West End. And with blockbuster musicals like The Bodyguard and Viva Forever looming on the horizon, to follow that with a Broadway obscurity never before performed in the UK might have seemed a perverse choice but for his final production as Artistic Director of this theatre, Gene David Kirk has unearthed an absolute knock-out success in Boy Meets Boy

Written in 1975 by Bill Solly and Donald Ward, it is set in 1936 as a pastiche of the golden screwball era of Fred and Ginger but this is a world in which there’s a same-sexual equality which not even 2012 can match. For though our Fred is Casey O’Brien, a sozzled society journalist who has managed to sleep through the 1936 abdication crisis, and our Ginger is British aristocrat Guy Rose, who has just left playboy millionaire Clarence Cutler standing at the altar, no-one bats an eyelid. This is a world where equality is just a given, a natural part of high society who are happy to gossip about everyone, gay or straight. Such a simple innovation but one that is a genuine breath of fresh air that revels in its joyous freedom in a show that is unashamedly silly, sentimental yet superlative.  Continue reading “Review: Boy Meets Boy, Jermyn Street Theatre”