‘Musik’ review

Theatre, Musicals
3 out of 5 stars
Musik, 2019
© The Other Richard

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

This cabaret spin off from the Pet Shop Boys’ 2001 musical is a very lightweight lark

It’s a good job the Assembly’s pop up space Bijou is fairly sturdy, because a strong gust of wind would blow away this high profile but flimsy cabaret spin off from Jonathan Harvey and the Pet Shop Boys’s 2001 musical ‘Closer to Heaven’.

‘Musik’ features Frances Barber reprising her role as pretentious German performance artist Billi Trix, with a book by Harvey and a smattering of new songs by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. If society wasn’t exactly screaming out for this to happen, it’s an intriguing enough prospect now that it’s here.

Deatailing her own life story, Barber’s Trix casts herself a sort of hipster alt. Zelig, telling us how she inspired Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Donald Trump and other twentieth century luminaries. The humour is surprisingly savage – there’s a Valerie Solanas gag in there that’ll make you wince – and Barber is clearly having the time of her life with her hammy teutonic accent. But it can’t really conceal the fact that the show is almost entirely insubstantial.

That doesn’t necessarily matter with a cabaret and although we don’t get any famous songs, the ‘Boys’ still know their way around a tune – though you do wonder how long it actually took them to write the number that’s mostly a list of flavours of soup.

At the very end there is a somewhat poignant photo montage, that hints at something sadder and deeper in the show, a goodbye to a twentieth century and its attendant icons, now moving out of reach and into history. But it’s just a fleeting moment, in what mostly feels like a very silly wheeze. ‘Musik’ is perfectly fine, but if it didn’t come with such huge names attached it would struggle to be heard over the tumult of the Fringe.


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