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A CurtainUp London Review
Close to You
The show which has brought these tunes to the stage is by Kyle Riabko, a singer and guitarist whose up beat arrangements form this show which is subtitled, Bacharach Reimagined. Bacharach's tunes are constantly being reinvented as all those reality singing talent shows like The X Factor look for "new" material and contestants are rewarded for putting their own interpretation on these lovely tunes.
So a younger generation will be rediscovering this composer. Close to You sold out at the Menier Chocolate Factory's intimate venue where the high rise furniture set surrounded the audience. Here at The Criterion, the armchairs and sofas are stacked up vertically like some kind of strange second hand furniture store display and surround the performers with some audience members seated on the stage. Standard lamps with large fringed lampshades give soft lighting with a period feel.
Seven singer musicians sing and play with new styles to some of the tunes. There is a reggae beat to "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" which segues into "What Do You Get When You Fall In Love". Songs that British women recorded are there, bare foot Sandie Shaw's "There's Always Something There to Remind Me", Dusty Springfield "Wishin' and Hopin' ", "A House Is Not A Home" and "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" and Cilla Black's "Alfie".
"Close To You" is not a musical but a concert with a set and lighting. As an example, a very sad song like "There's Always Something There To Remind Me" is celebrated as a great tune but the jamming rendition doesn't convey any of the emotion of the beautiful words as singers grin while singing sad lyrics. In a musical the singers would be feeling the emotion.
Kyle Riabko plays his guitar while embracing Stefanie McKeon so he cannot see where his fingers are on the guitar. The show closed with all seven performers singing "What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love". As a special treat on opening night the band and cast took to the streets to entertain the crowd at Piccadilly Circus.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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