Anyone looking for an explanation as to last weekend’s unexpected burst of balmy weather is hereby instructed to check out the cast of Porchlight Music Theatre’s “Closer than Ever”: This musical quintet radiates enough warmth and musical bonhomie to melt a glacier the size of Rhode Island. No, make that a sextet given musical director and honorary sixth cast member Eugene Dizon’s flawless work at the piano. Your ears couldn’t ask for a sweeter sound than when these six strike their musical rapport. But this show emotionally soars only when its musical numbers—exploring the vagaries of life and of love—are smartly executed by a director who understands the key to pulling them off. Commendably, director Nick Bowling has largely succeeded in steering his actors clear of the common performing pitfall to over-think Maltby’s sophisticated lyrics at the expense of the songs’—and ultimately the show’s—beautiful simplicity. Bowling’s clever—though not thoroughly consistent—musical pairings and ménage à trois have delineated some rich characterizations and provided what is essentially a plot-less evening with some satisfying emotional arcs. With few exceptions the staging—complemented by choreographer Kevin Bellie’s febrile footwork—is fluid and informs the semi-narrative. Finally, Kevin Hagan’s set design, a back-wall patch of overlapping doorframes reminiscent of a Mondrian abstraction, visually reinforces the show’s consideration of multilayered human connections. (F.O. Almeida)
This production is now closed.