Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined’s Kyle Riabko is a real guitar hero. He makes my leaping around the living room with a plastic instrument and a PlayStation look even more ridiculous than it sounds, which is impressive. Not as impressive, though, as stretching round a fellow performer to play guitar behind their back. He does that too.
When I first saw Close To You at the Menier Chocolate Factory, way back when it was called What’s It All About: Bacharach Reimagined in July, I was struck not only by Riabko’s unique arrangements of Bacharach’s classic tunes – from Alfie to Do You Know The Way To San Jose via What’s New Pussycat?, Magic Moments and Anyone Who Had A Heart – but by the number of guitars in particular the former Spring Awakening and Hair star used in the show. Frankly it brought out the music geek in me.
So on a dingy autumnal afternoon I headed to the Criterion, where Close To You is currently bringing its stunningly staged theatrical concert of Bacharach’s back catalogue to West End audiences, to meet a Riabko who was eager to delve into the world of fenders, Les Pauls, acoustics and slides.
To see what he said about the show, the music and the guitars, click on the buttons in the image below. They’ll appear when you hover your cursor over the picture.
Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined runs at the Criterion Theatre until 10 January. You can book tickets through us here.