Close To You onstage seating, Criterion Theatre

Close To You is a celebration of the music of Burt Bacharach. The first time we saw the show, we loved it – amazing music, talented musicians and vocalists, cleverly mixed and great fun. This time, we tried the onstage seating experience, an exceedingly rare thing for a West End performance.

Basically, there are around ten couches and armchairs on either side of the stage. It is a unique experience because you are so up close to the performance and you can also look out at the auditorium audience just like the actors. These seats are cheaper than most other tickets as they provide a side view of the performance. However, Close To You features a turntable on stage which is used frequently throughout the show and so you do get an excellent perspective.

The stage seating accentuates the intimate atmosphere that this show always manages to evoke, a feeling that can often be lost in big West End productions, and we found it reminiscent of our experience seeing the first London iteration of the show at the Menier Chocolate Factory (where it ran from 3rd July to 5th September 2015 as What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined).

Once again the show was fantastic with wonderful energy and life. The cast are phenomenal and look like they are having the time of their lives on stage, and this joy and love is pervasive and warms the soul. Stephanie McKeon and Anastacia McCleskey demonstrated amazing vocal ability, as did Kyle Riabko, Greg Coulson and Daniel Bailen who are amazing guitarists as well, and Renato Paris is highly talented on piano with an excellent voice. A standout number was ‘Message to Michael’ which was mixed with ‘San Jose’. This part of the show is high energy and involves all of the cast.

Close To You is a heart-warming, uplifting show which must stay in the West End, although it is only currently running until 14th February at the Criterion Theatre.

For more information on the Criterion Theatre visit West End Theatre Guide’s website:


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