When you’re sitting down to watch a one woman show written by Jonathan Harvey with original music from Pet Shop Boys, and when the one woman in question is Frances Barber, expectations are bound to be high. Mine, at least, were stratospheric and, thankfully, Musik did not disappoint.
Barber, as the eccentric, over-the-hill Trix, commands the stage from the off, zipping through her life story from the ruins of bombed-out Berlin to the present day, propelled by a script so tight that even my fellow hard-nosed, press night hacks – a notoriously tricky audience – couldn’t help breaking into spontaneous applause at several points throughout the show.
Gags come thick and fast, from the topical (Madonna and Meghan) to the downright filthy via the genuinely surreal, all punctuated by new songs from Pet Shop Boys. The joke is often on Trix herself, her vast ego superseded only by her dazzling lack of insight: “I eat music, I breathe music, I am music”.
Barber is a terrific singer, her gravelly German cabaret-style delivery serving as the perfect counterpoint to the Pet Shop Boys’ pop sensibilities, satisfyingly Brechtian when set against the references to Mother Courage.
As Barber swept off the stage to an uproarious ovation, I was reminded of the PT Barnum adage “always leave them wanting more”.
Reader, she did.
Musik is on at the Leicester Square Theatre, London, until 1st March.