Musik at Leicester Square Theatre
Ridiculously self-confident fictional pop icon Billie Trix is a wonderful character who creates a large number of comedic moments, largely due to her lack of self-awareness and over-the-top storytelling. After narrating the Pet Shop Boys’ original musical Closer to Heaven, here Trix receives her own solo show, brilliantly performed by Frances Barber at her very best. With an outrageous sense of humour, strong writing and six catchy tunes to round things off, Musik becomes a gorgeously witty account of a fictional rock star and actress.
The production takes the form of a cabaret act more than a musical or play, Trix narrating the events of her life and occasionally interrupting with the odd musical number. Among her accomplishments (and there are many) are ending the Vietnam War single-handedly with a single song, giving Donald Trump the idea for the wall, and spending ten years living in a phone box in Soho; all the while she insists that she lives, breathes, no – is music, and that she is a gift to the world. Jonathan Harvey’s writing is absolutely hilarious (and very rude at times) and flows perfectly, with not a single boring moment to be found. The songs – written by the Pet Shop Boys – are pleasant, enjoyable and silly enough to make for a varied show.
But the absolute star of the evening is obviously Barber. Catching the audience’s attention for a whole hour on one’s own is not easy, but she pulls it off flawlessly. Gifted with a sweet voice, some musical talent and, above all, pristine comedic timing, Barber is a force to be reckoned with, delivering each punchline perfectly and making for a smashing time for everyone.
While the music in Musik may not be to everyone’s liking, and some audiences may find the aggressive humour a bit too much, the overall impression of this production is strong. As far as cabaret-style one-handers go, it is extremely well done with fantastic writing, incredible acting and plenty of earworms, guaranteeing a wonderful evening for those seeking a good laugh in Leicester Square.
Photo: Marc Brenner
Musik is at Leicester Square Theatre from 18th February until 1st March 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.