Arts Review


Closer presented by the La Boite Theatre

La Boite Theatre, QUT Kelvin Grove

4th-20th April, 2024


Dr Gemma Regan


A well executed, steamy and shocking examination of the pitfalls of adultery


Patrick Marber's second steamy stage play Closer has been produced in more than 200 cities across the world and was popularised in the 2005 film with the gorgeous cast of Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts.


La Boite is now revisiting Closer 24 years after their last production, with a spunky cast and acclaimed Director Courtney Stewart, ready to re-examine sexual tensions and the intricate facets of jealousy and possession.


Despite three of the cast being locals and one Scottish, all four capture the essence of yuppies living in London during the 90s brilliantly. The four characters are extreme caricatures with the damaged, childish Alice, played exuberantly by Sophia Emberson-Bain (Godzilla vs Kong: The New Empire; Aquaman), falling for the older wanna-be novelist Dan (Kevin Spink: Heartbeat; Thirteen Lives). 


Alice is entranced by Dan after he rushes her to the hospital after a car accident, where she is entered by his sandwiches with the crusts removed. Dan revels in his role as the knight in shining armour by rescuing the vulnerable waif and taking her under his wing and into his bed. Their misunderstanding of each other's motivation for love leads to an unbalanced and tempestuous relationship. 


Cue Larry, a hospital dermatologist (Colin W. Smith: A Streetcar Named Desire; Twelfth Night), who marries the sophisticated boho photographer, Anna. She is cool and pragmatic, played with aplomb by Anna McGahan (House Husbands, Darby and Joan). The four character’s lives become intriguingly intertwined by chance meetings leading to deception, lust and betrayal. 


The 99-year-old La Boite Theatre has a central stage surrounded by the audience on all four sides which has positives and negatives, namely that the audience feels part of the drama but limits the potential set design. Fortunately, Closer focuses on dialogue so a few pink Lego-like boxy structures are effective in recreating the many scenes from apartments to art galleries and brothels. 


The pink-hued lighting is also minimal, with few sound effects focusing the attention solely onto the actors. The frequent short scenes which jump between various time frames are sometimes confusing and require concentrating on the dialogue to follow the plot. 


The necessary focus is rewarded with an intricate view of the unraveling of four people's lives, three of whom display terrifying sociopathic behaviour. Tensions flourish and eventually explode, which was reflected cleverly by set and costume designer M’ck McKeague, when two warring characters are wearing Scream shirts when it boils into a blistering barney.

Closer is still shocking 30 years on, yet has an unusual naivety due to its age, especially during an amusing and overtly sexual internet chatroom scene. La Boite’s steamy production is entertaining and well-cast, serving as a moralistic tale of the dire consequences of immoral behaviours driven by lust and jealousy.


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