Frank's Closet

Frank's Closet is a unique and engaging experience from the moment it begins in the bar, where Sheila Blige, played by Paul Toulson captivates the audience with an interactive performance while climbing on various pieces of furniture. Transitioning into the black box studio, the audience is greeted with a strikingly minimalistic set designed by Catherine Phelps, featuring a proscenium 'closet' framed by 2D Corinthian pillars, creatively illuminated to give the impression of a pulsating heart, with an array of wardrobe outfits hanging to the side.

The use of space in both set design and direction is creative, with entrances and exits strategically placed both on stage and through the auditorium. The flexible seating arrangement allows patrons to select their preferred spots, with few cabaret tables flanking the stage, though they can be left unoccupied due to their daring nature.

The narrative unfolds as a coming-of-age story, centered around a young man on the brink of marriage, reminiscing about the various dresses he has collected over his lifetime, embodied by the Diva, portrayed by Luke Farrugia. While the storyline may appear simple, the execution of the show is nothing short of extraordinary.

Andy Moss, in the role of Frank, delivers a captivating first-person account of his life, unveiling a world of modern camp vaudeville accompanied by a delightfully mismatched troupe of Gaiety Girls. Though some references may escape younger audience members, Stuart Wood's evident adoration for these icons shines through in each performance, blending vocal skills, physicality, and often comedy seamlessly.

Highlights include a cheeky portrayal of Julie Andrews, featuring classic lines ‘we are not a codfish’ and such, delivered with finesse by Farrugia, as well as a homage to Agnetha Faltskog, which was nothing short of iconic. The live band, under the direction of Musical Director Anto Buckley, adds depth and vibrancy to the performance, enhancing the vaudeville experience with tap routines, fan choreography, moving set pieces not to mention the elaborate costumes and wigs.

While post interval typically features a lively number to hook the audience, Frank's Closet takes a more poignant turn with a heartfelt emotional piece. Additionally, prior to entering the auditorium, patrons are treated to an uplifting reprise/medley of earlier moments performed by Sheila Blige and the Gaiety Girls.

Overall, Frank's Closet offers a playful and slightly tongue in cheek journey, yet remains suitable for all audiences, making it a show that can be enjoyed with your mum without any discomfort.

This show was reviewed on the 12th March 2024 at the Union Theatre, London where it runs until the 30th March 2024.  Tickets available here: Frank’s Closet – The Cult Hit Musical Returns! | Union Theatre

Review written by Valentine Gale-Sides


Photo credit: Danny Kaan

You can watch our interview with Andy Moss all about the show here:

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