Assembly Rooms – Bijou, Venue 20
Performs until August 24th, 21:40
⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 stars)
In 2001 pop legends The Pet Shop Boys collaborated with acclaimed writer Jonathan Harvey and produced the musical “Closer to Heaven” one of the central characters of that show Billie Trix became the iconic figure, especially when performed by the incredible Frances Barber.
18 Years later, The Pet Shop Boys and Harvey are reunited to explore Billie Trix. Icon. Rock star. Screen goddess. Drug addict. Billie has lived a life of excess and shares it all in this new one-woman show. Her journey takes us from post-war Berlin to the rock arenas of the world, via the Vietnam war, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and a year in a Soho Square phone box and better still Frances Barber returns to her creation.
Barber commands the stage from the moment she sweeps into the Bijou tent and never let’s go, delivering a performance of skilled and joy its captivating to watch. The four new songs from the Pet Shop Boys run the human gamut of emotions from the Andy Warhol inspired “Soup” via a pop filled Friendly Fire and finally as Billie reflects on her life the song “ For Every Moment” rings true for so many of us.
Jonathan Harvey script is on fire, with pointed barbs at the celebrities of both the arts and political worlds that Billie blames for ripping off all her ideas and creations its an incredible snapshot of where the world has gone over the last 18 years.
There were some technical issues on the evening of review including a wayward mic stand and problems with the backing track towards the end of the performance however it truly showed just what a born performer Barber is as she didn’t let it phase her but added to her cudos.
Billie Trix is back, it’s her life, her story and her music, filled with vitriol, anger and debauchery it’s a heady mixture which truly takes the audience closer to heaven in more ways that one. Unforgettable stuff.