With lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music by David Shire, Closer Than Ever is a revue of 24 songs about love in later life. Whether it’s finding, losing, remembering, rekindling or avoiding love, anybody who’s lived a little will surely find some aspect of their own romantic life reflected in song here.
The cast of four (Clare Burt, Ria Jones, Michael Cahill and Glyn Kerslake) tackle a variety of styles, from high camp comedy to intensely personal tales of loss, head-on. I particularly enjoyed Jones’ Miss Byrd, Burt’s Life Story, Jones and Cahill celebrating the joys of second marriage in Another Wedding Song, and Cahill and Kerslake joining with musical director David Randall for Father of Fathers.
Jason Denvir’s set design, all multiple levels and beaded curtains, helps to accentuate the revue’s 1980s origins and its sense of nostalgia for youth, while also looking very contemporary.
It all adds up to an evening of entertainment which can only be described as “classy”. And as such, it is the perfect production to attract people to this pub theatre, which has just completed a full refit downstairs. I’ve loved coming to the Landor for years, but the pub environment has always felt slightly at odds with the entertainment above. With a new bar, comfortable seating and (from what I’m told by Paul, who sampled the food) a greatly improved kitchen ensuring some high quality bar meals, the refurbishment seems to have been an unqualified success.