Frank’s Closet ★★★ The Union Theatre | March 6 - 30, 2024

Frank is getting married and fiancé, Alan, has said it is time to clean out the closet. Frank's collection of clothes from his adored divas seems destined to be donated to the V&A. This show takes us on a trip down Frank's personal memory lane and brings to the stage seven powerful women who have given him the courage to be himself. The divas are all played by Luke Farrugia who spans the spectrum of icons from the Victorian era's Marie Lloyd to ABBA's Agnetha Fältskog. Along the way he does parody/impressions of Julie Andrews, Ethel Merman, Karen Carpenter, and Dusty Springfield. The standout, however, is the rendition of "Let's Do The Show Right Here" by Judy Garland. Farrugia projects the style of the various songstresses while singing original works by Stuart Wood, and he brings a flair and humour to his roles that is great fun. The story of the show runs thin and it is really just a pretext for Farrugia to strut his stuff. However, it still needs to ring true, and unfortunately Andy Moss as Frank never convinced us of either his dilemma, or the vulnerability that made him embrace the powerful ladies he adores. The relationship with his parents and his romance with Alan just doesn't spark any empathy. The plot is also muddied when Farrugia turns up as the putative fiancé, but is still in semi-drag. Is he taking on a new character or is he the same person who has been playing the women in Frank's life? It is all rather distracting, as is the role of Paul Toulson as Sheila Blige. While he does a terrific job of warming up the audience before the performance and in the interval, Toulson's appearance in the show is simply confusing. The strength of this version of Frank's Closet is the atmosphere created. From the moment one enters the theatre there's an energy and a great cabaret feeling that the superb Gaiety Girls carry over into the show. For that alone, Frank's Closet is worth a visit, but it turns out to be an evening with lots of sizzle but not much steak.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Danny Kaan

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