Review: Only an Octave Apart – ★★★★★
Justin Vivian Bond & Anthony Roth Costanzo bring the house down with the London transfer of Only an Octave Apart – a solid-gold, five-star smash-hit!
These are dark times on this scepter’d isle, but just when it’s starting to feel like we should all just hibernate for a decade or so, Wilton’s Music Hall miraculously plays host to a show so spellbinding, you might just forget all your troubles.
An inspired pairing of cabaret supreme Justin Vivian Bond and dazzling countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo present 90 minutes of such warmth, wit and magnificent vocal mash-ups that it all feels like an embarrassment of splendour.
A simple, bare stage – and a sublime, blue curtain you can practically feel from the back row – leaves the performers (and their regularly changed costumes) to draw the eye, and their voices to leave you wowed.
The combination of Costanzo’s note-perfect operatics with Bond’s sultry, earthy timbre is a match made in cabaret heaven – and a set list that samples Piaf, Purcell, Dido, Bowie and Peter Gabriel never fails to both surprise and wrap you in a warm embrace. It’s a testament to the pacing and song selection that this is a 90 minute performance which never feels rushed but ends too soon. A word, also, for the excellent mini-orchestra which fills this beautiful old music hall with such sound as dreams are made of.
There’s humour, too – lots of it, bursting out at the seems, along with an all-encompassing generosity of spirit which carries the show through to its much-deserved standing ovations. An encore is demanded, and given – hearts are warmed, and ills are forgotten. All, for these 90 minutes, is right in the world.
This is the gold-standard of musical cabaret: magnetic performance as siren call, luring audiences onto the most pleasing of rocks. If we’re approaching the end times, let us go down with this particular ship.
Wilton’s looks and sounds better than ever for this show – it really is the must-see event of the Autumn so far!
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