Half A Star Theatre @ The Little Theatre
2:00pm, Sat 7 Mar 2009
You might have notice that show posts have dried up the last couple of days, despite the fact that I’m only seeing a relative smattering of shows lately. There’s a couple of reasons for that – perhaps the most annoying of which is my OCD, which forces me to post about shows in chronological order. In the case of Closer, however, there’s another reason:
It’s pretty unnerving to see your relationships laid out before you onstage.
And, because of that personal connection (which is, of course, completely in my own mind), it’s proving to be astoundingly difficult to write anything about. And when I do hack some text out – such as I am doing now – it will undoubtedly be ill-considered, useless shit. There’s a vote of confidence for you!
Closer tells the story – or rather, stories – of four people and their relationships, spread over a four-or-five year period. It opens just subsequent to the chance meeting of Dan and Alice, and soon thereafter Larry is introduced as an almost incidental character. Dan meets Anna, inadvertently causes her and Larry to meet, and thence follows a tale of lust, lies, betrayal, and love… without love actually appearing to be found, despite the frequent exchange of partners.
See that paragraph up there? Took me about half-an-hour to write that. Rubbish, it is – read the Wikipedia entry on Closer instead.
So, with premise and plot helpfully provided by the wider Internet, all I have to do now is chat about the uniqueness of this production. And it’s really quite compelling, from the initial curiosity of the characters meeting (Dan and Larry’s conversation in the “London FUCK” chatroom is, largely, a riot, with the two men conversing via keyboard on opposite sides of the Little Theatre’s upper stage) through to the sexual tension of Anna’s party. The first act ends with an angry dissolution – yelling and tears, and utterly familiar and recognisable.
The second act dips deep into a well of melancholy; constant breakups and reconnections, but in the end everyone ends up alone; and there was an odd audience moment when Dan strikes Alice – a lone voice in the decent-sized crowd uttered a surprised “oooh”. The cast are, generally, pretty good: the girls are fine, but Sahil Choujar didn’t quite convince me as Dan. Nick Fagan, on the other hand, is fucking amazing as Larry – one of the best performances I’ve seen in ages, managing to effectively convince me of the doting, the bitter, and the mournful phases of Larry’s life. The snarl in his voice when he tells Alice to touch her toes in Scene 7 (at the beginning of Act 2) is perfect; and then there was that line: Larry attacks Dan with the gloating barb “companionship will always triumph over passion.” That line has stuck with me for nearly two weeks now, gnawing away.
But the big kicker is how true all the dialogue feels. We’ve either said or, more likely, thought every line that’s uttered onstage. As mentioned before, I saw so much of my last major relationship mirrored in Dan & Alice – and then, later, Larry & Anna – that it was scary. Maybe I’m just attracted to Alices. Or maybe this is the language of every relationship born of passion; and that idea fills me with hope. Hope that my own sad little interactions are not isolated, and that there are others that travel the same road.