Friday, 11 January 2019

REVIEW: Aspects of Love at Southwark Playhouse

‘Aspects of Love’ is a lesser known Andrew Lloyd Webber hit which stormed the West End 30 years ago, opening in 1989, running for 1,325 performances and elevating Michael Ball’s career with the soaring anthem ‘Love Changes Everything’. Since then it had a London revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2010, and then this production stormed in Manchester at the Hope Mill Theatre, so I was excited to watch this production in London.

The story follows three generations of lovers starting with Alex Dillingham and older actress Rose Vibert, who have a steamy, passionate affair at Alex’s uncle’s villa, but when his Uncle George arrives it changes everything forever.

The show for me was a miss. The euphoric opener to the show of ‘Love Changes Everything’ was underwhelming to start it off. Jonathan O’Boyle’s direction, whilst covering the stage well, felt for a lot of the time rather static, and it seemed to me like a couple of the characters needed more emotional clarity. Whilst the band were strong and the ensemble singing was technically strong, the general acting of the whole ensemble wasn’t strong enough to make Richard Bates’s 3 piece band (2 keys and 1 percussionist) orchestration work. This caused the show to feel sparse and clunky musically frequently.

Now there were some redeeming factors. Aaron J Dootson’s lighting design complemented Jason Denvir’s set, adding an intimate, riviera touch to the show. Sam Spencer-Lane’s choreography for ‘The Journey of a Lifetime’ and ‘Hand Me the Wine and Dance’ was precise and effective. And the stand out performances came from Kelly Price as ‘Rose Vibert’, giving her all into the role being a strong leading lady, and Madalena Alberto as ‘Giulietta Trapani’ who sang ‘There Is More to Love’ beautifully. Eleanor Walsh should also be mentioned, bringing strong energy and innocence to ‘Jenny Dullingham’.

However the role of ‘Alex Dullingham’ is one noted as being incredible difficult to
do. Unfortunately Felix Mosse lacked the charisma and emotional depth, leaving his performance to almost seem mechanical. Whilst you could tell he is a technically strong singer, the whole performance felt massively under energised. Some of the ensemble moments too were technically nice, but underwhelming which brought the overall energy of the show down.

Ultimately whilst this show was a hit up in Manchester, something seems to have happened in the transfer to London which sadly creates a rather lack lustre show.

Review by Adam Yorke

Rating: ★★

Seat: D15 | Price of Ticket: £27.50

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