Monday, May 21, 2001

I've been thinking some more about "Closer To Heaven". It's alright, in an Off-Off-Broadway kind of way, but 32 quid a ticket for a show with such low-rent production values? The problems are more to do with Harvey than ver Boys - the narrative falls apart in the second act, with a spectacularly lame drug overdose scene, followed by a bit of patronising moralising about how shallow gay life can be: "I'm not crying for me, I'm not crying for you, I'm crying for all of us." Oh, please.

The songs are generally fine. Four of them will be familiar to Pet Shop Boys fans: Shameless [which was the b-side of Go West]; and In Denial, Closer To Heaven and Vampires, all off Nightlife. In Denial is still a clunker, but works in the story-line. Vampires provides the show's only beautiful moment, accompanying the lovely two-boys-shagging scene.

The show is VERY gay - there's not a single straight male character [not even 'straight' Dave, to give the blindingly obviously 'plot' away]. There's a wonderfully savage caricature of a pop manager - fat, sleazy, shell-suited - Tom Watkins will sue. The two juvenile leads are perfectly adequate. The has-been 60s pop singer is very good - an amalgam of every faded junkie star: Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, Eartha Kitt.

Neil Tennant sat in the seat directly in front of us, and after the show he said the production was changing every day, with whole sections being rewritten. Perhaps by the time it opens [it's still in previews at the moment] Jonathan Harvey will have come up with a proper ending.

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