Closer Than Ever, at the PQA’s Riddle’s Court, is an adaptation of the Off-Broadway revue in two acts, written by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shir. Spectacularly directed by Alex Hughes and performed by brilliant trios of actresses (Sue Appleby, Katriona Perret, Harriet Watson) and actors (Samuel Haughton, Michael Larcombe, Alastair Natkiel), it is a show that all musical lovers at the Fringe have been waiting for.
The show consists of two acts and twenty songs; each of them tells a separate story about human relationships. Closer Than Ever is an illustration of dating and cheating, expectations and disappointments, beginnings and ends, dreams and appearances, liberation and dependence, chances, promises, failures and dreams. . . in one word, of the experiences every one of us has experienced so far. It is a spectacle filled with emotions.
The show is low-budget but it does not stop the three actresses and three actors, attired in consistently grey, yet symbolically significant costumes, designed by Liz Chalerston, from creating a marvellous and dynamic spectacle. The omnipresent Fringe tendency of the interactive stage design, here proves itself perfectly; a projector behind the performers evocatively conveys the spaces of the people lost in love – no matter if it is a bus, an office, a street, or a luxurious apartment.
Eventually, the strength of Closer Than Ever lays in its performers. They change their faces and roles like chameleons, they impersonate different emotions, they are either sassy and bold (‘You Want to Be My Friend?,’ ‘The Bear, the Tiger, the Hamster and the Mole’), or romantic and blissful (‘Miss Byrd,’ ‘One of the Good Guys’). Most importantly, however, the cast of the show, is a true team. There are no superstars in it, they all work together to make all the audience satisfied, no matter if single, taken, married, or divorced. Therefore, in spite of its heteronormative context, the show is painfully relatable.
Closer Than Ever at Riddle’s Court is a perfect Fringe show. It will not change the world and it will not change your life either. However, it can get you close to real life, possibly, closer than ever.