Aspects of Love: Southwark Playhouse, London
Reviewed 2nd February 2019
Following its acclaimed première at Manchester’s award-winning Hope Mill Theatre, Jonathan O’Boyle’s brand-new revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects of Love is currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse for a strictly limited season. Aspects of Love is billed to be a ‘sweeping, epic and heart-breaking love story spanning seventeen years’ full of passion, desire, family ties and friendship. Featuring the iconic song ‘Love Changes Everything’ Aspects of Love celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2019.
The clever set designed by Jason Denvir works well in this small venue and the addition of cafe style seating for some audience members is a lovely added extra. Lighting by Aaron J. Dootson adds to the overall ambiance of the various locations whilst the choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane ensures that the transitions are cleverly interwoven and do not detract from the storyline.
Vocally, all of the cast are highly talented. Whilst the volume of some of the numbers was far too high for such a venue during this performance, the overall dynamics and storytelling through song is good. Felix Moss plays Alex Dillingham, the young boy bewitched by the female star of the stage Rose Vibert. Felix shows the ability to grow with his character as the plot line spans 17 years but his performance is not convincing enough to really feel much empathy towards him. Kelly Price’s voice is gorgeous as Rose Vibert. The tone and clarity is lovely to listen to and works well against some of the other actors. Madalena Alberto also demonstrates tremendous vocal talent but unfortunately as Guilietta Trapani, the Italian sculptress, she does not get many chances to show this off.
Aspects of Love’s plot is overly complicated and leaves very little room to really build emotion and empathy towards the character. Unfortunately the opening act feels far too long and due to the complicated storyline at points it becomes quite confusing. The clever use of the well-known song ‘Love Changes Everything‘ to bring the focus back to the overall story is a good choice and by the end of the performance most of the questions are answered. Regrettably though the characters lack conviction and do not seem believable and therefore neither do their highly complicated love affairs.
For fans of the original 1989 performance and of Andrew Lloyd Webber Aspects of Love at the Southwark Playhouse is definitely worth a visit. Whilst the plot line may be hard to believe and the characters a little unconvincing, the lovely score and talented singing is easy to sit back and listen to, especially during this rainy, cold season.
Aspects of Love runs at the Southwark Playhouse until the 9th February 2019. For tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Anthony Robling