Christopher Walker reviews Close-up – the Twiggy Musical

“It’s all her fault.”

Twiggy (Lesley Hornby) was the iconic face of the sixties, and the beginning of society’s preference for wafer-thin, boy-like girls.

She was shorter and less curvy than the models that went before.

As Diana Vreeland quipped in Vogue “a mini-girl for the mini-era.”

The millions of women who have since starved themselves to get that ‘size Zero look’, may be inclined to blame “Twiggs.” But they would be wrong.

This is made clear in Close-up, at the wonderful Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark.

Indeed, writer Ben Elton rather shoves it down our throat.

Cast of Close Up – The Twiggy Musical – credit Manuel Harlan

Twiggy was only 15 when she acquired fame, and mere putty in the hands of her older boyfriend Justin de Villeneuve (a hilarious Matt Corner). And Ben Elton makes a nod to the desperate longing of sixties women for liberation and success. Or as he would put it “class mobility.”

Alongside the politics is a good helping of schmaltz, fortunately washed down with a series of the greatest hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Which makes this particularly palatable to the over 60s audience.

Elena Skye looks the part, no mean feat considering that face and figure, and belts out hits like “You don’t own me” with gusto.

Newcomer Aoife Dunne as Cindy, Twiggy’s so called “fat friend” clearly has comic talent as well as a great voice. The same is true of Lauren Azania playing Kay.

The dancing is excellent thanks to Jacob Fearey.

Cast of Close Up – The Twiggy Musical – credit Manuel Harlan

Danny Nattrass and Luke Johnson stand out. Liam Buckland also has a joyful cameo as Monsieur Leonard the hairdresser who created that iconic look.

Jonathan Lipman’s costumes capture the swinging ’60s well, and the sad decline into faded jeans in the ’70s.

Twiggy sought re-invention then, with some success.

A lot of Twiggy’s life and loves are here, including her marriage to an alcoholic cowboy-actor (Darren Day).

Though strangely not her happy ending. She’s now Mrs. Lawson and lives in Suffolk.

Overall a fascinating glimpse into a young London girl who rocketed to fame. And desperately sought to cling to it.



Picture: Elena Skye (Twiggy) – Photo credits: Manuel Harlan


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