Closer (New Theatre)

‘Closer’ is the story of a love triangle with four corners. It is a story of four people trying to cope with their complex emotions in an increasingly complex modern world. Lust, love, jealousy and guilt all come to the fore in this absorbing yet confusing romance.

Those who have seen the 2005 film ‘Closer’ (starring Jude Law et al.) will already know the plot yet will still enjoy this version of the original play. It opens with obituary writer Dan hitting it off with enigmatic Alice in a hospital waiting room. Not long after, Dan falls for a photographer, Anna, but inadvertently introduces her to Larry, a dermatologist with a penchant for internet chat rooms. Soon enough Larry meets Alice and before you know it the four characters are in a struggle, chasing after each other’s love instead of catching up with their own emotions.

With lines such as ‘Please don’t hate me.’ / ‘It’s easier than loving you’, ‘Men are crap’ and ‘Why isn’t love enough?’ careless directors could make ‘Closer’ into one large cliché. But this New Theatre production avoids such pitfalls and instead puts on a solid performance which is both stylish and entertaining.

The production team at New Theatre have clearly chosen to present ‘Closer’ in a simple, clutter-free way. The best moments, however, are those where the stage directions break away from the norm and we really begin to see the tensions that underline the action. And after all, it is these tensions between the characters that make the play.

The casting for the main characters was near perfect, drawing on four actors who had both confidence and eye-catching good looks. Admittedly there were times when the acting stiffened up a little in what should be a naturalistic play. To their credit, however, they draw the best out of characters with veiled motives and never give in to the temptation for melodrama. This is epitomised in one of the highlights of the play, the final scene of Act One, in which two locations are carefully combined into one before ending on a dramatic climax.

Even if the characters themselves are not meant to be particularly likeable, you will certainly like this performance of ‘Closer’. New Theatre offers a strong cast and clear direction. The buzz about this play is justified and word of mouth on its own should make it very successful.

‘Closer’ is running at the New Theatre from 15th to 18th March.

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