Review Round-up: No Comfort for Too Close
Too Close to the Sun sees Hemingway, battling the indignities of old age, taking solace in the company of his young secretary. His wife, tolerating this liaison so as not to lose him, is unaware that the secretary has a secret agenda - to become wife number five and inherit his estate. The arrival of Rex, an old school friend, adds a further complication, as he tries to secure the film rights to the life of the notorious writer. With bribery, lies and manipulation, Rex plays a dangerous game to achieve his goal.
The cast features James Graeme as Hemingway, Helen Dallimore as his wife Mary, Christopher Howell (replacing Jay Benedict) as Rex and Tammy Joelle as Louella. The show has music by John Robinson, lyrics by Robinson and Roberto Trippini and a book by Trippini.
“Tuneless”, “leaden”, “stale” and “fiasco” were some of the kinder comments afforded Too Close to the Sun. John Robinson is fast becoming the theatrical equivalent of Ed Wood, and now undoubtedly holds the dubious honour of being the most critically-derided composer in modern West End history. Most critics offered jokes along the lines of “the impotence of being Ernest” (Michael Coveney) or “to close by Sunday” - but few saw the funny side of the decision to grant Robinson a second bite of the West End cherry.