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A CurtainUp London Review
And so it is with these qualms that I come to review a play I saw three times in the late nineties. First was at the National. Here the scene typing on the internet on instant messenger, where Larry is conned by Dan into thinking he is a voluptuous woman. It blew me away with its wit and staging. The conversation was typed on the screen with us able to view the men's reactions. The play found a West End theatre and there were two more openings with some cast changes.
Maybe it was seeing it three times that so etched it upon my memory but I was fascinated by the description of the small Postmen's Park in the middle of the City of London, as were many who saw the 2004 film which led to a new memorial plaque being added in 2009. And the juggernaut quote about the late arrival of extensive male baggage stays with me almost two decades on.
David Leveaux directs the quartet of actors in 2015. Rufus Sewell is Larry, the medical doctor who's less socially adept than any of the others and probably the least duplicitous. His twitchy performance clearly demonstrates the dysfunction of his character and is the outstanding performance of this production. Rachel Redford is Alice, the wild child and self described waif, unconventional and deeply insecure, on a downward trajectory with sex and lies.
Though I am a great admirer of Nancy Carroll I found her Anna miscast as the experienced, beautiful photographer; nor could I quite believe in a sexual chemistry between her and the two men. Oliver Chris has a beard to try to depart from the Prince William image, but again struck me as rather too nice for the manipulative reporter and writer Dan.
Bunny Christie's set is good but Closer is all about Patrick Marber's tightly constructed words. The sense of London that we have is from his words as well as the visual setting of the art inspired backdrop. Closer unsettles as much as it makes you laugh with its complicated and not particularly likeable characters in the blood letting that is the destructive truth.
For more plot and character analysis do read Elyse Sommer's review for the Broadway production of 1999 here here.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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