High camp & high culture

pet shop boys programme gesamtkunstwerk

My review [£] of the Pet Shop Boys’ show at the Royal Opera House. Most of the other notices I’ve seen (here’s one) have been a lot more enthusiastic.

Sometimes the packaging can eclipse the music. Take, for example, the programme accompanying Inner Sanctum, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s four-night run at Covent Garden. There was enough purple prose from journos and academics to fill Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner for the rest of the year. My favourite essay? “Pet Shop Boys, Singspiel and Electronic Gesamtkunstwerk”.

It would be reassuring to think that this was another of Tennant’s quirky in-jokes. Yes, it may be possible to detect echoes of TS Eliot in the lyrics, but can those genial, but repetitive synth-pop melodies support all this hyper-intellectual stone-cladding? Then again, when a pop act acquires enough box office and cultural clout, it really can try to convince itself that high camp is the same as high art.

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: www.facebook.com/clive.davis.10 Instagram: clivephotos
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