Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Closer to Heaven

Closer to Heaven, Union Theatre. Photos: Darren Bell Closer to Heaven, Union Theatre. Photos: Darren Bell
by -

The original production of Closer to Heaven closed after a brief run in the West End after tepid reviews and a rapid drop in tourism post-9/11. This new production, directed by Gene David Kirk and choreographed by Philip Joel, is London’s first revival and sold out its four-week run in 48 hours.

With an original score by the Pet Shop Boys and a book by Jonathan Harvey, Closer to Heaven is a love story set in the hedonistic world of London’s club scene. The electronic, synthpop music and tight harmonies of the Pet Shop Boys work particularly well, capturing both the era and mood of turn-of-the-century clubland. Sadly, Harvey’s book is a car-crash of hackneyed dialogue, two-dimensional characters and howling cliche.

Kirk and Joel go some way to rectify this problem with thoughtful direction and frenetic, club-styled choreography, performed by a good-looking, energetic ensemble. A menacing Ken Christiansen as Bob and a game Katie Meller as Billie Tricks flesh out the comic potential of their characters with some success. Newcomer Jared Thompson as Dave, Amy Matthews as Shell and Connor Brabyn as drug dealer Mile End Lee negotiate their love triangle with enthusiasm and a gravity that thankfully defies the writing.

Note: this review originally appeared with a four-star rating owing to an administrative error

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
An energetic and entertaining revival that celebrates the music but struggles with a cliche-ridden book