‘A strange and unhealthy story’ – Aspects of Love review


Aspects of Love theatre performance is based on David Garnett’s 1955 novella.
00:01, Thu, Jun 1, 2023 | UPDATED: 08:57, Thu, Jun 1, 2023

When the former Prince Charles was asked in the 1981 engagement interview about being in love, his reply “Whatever ‘in love’ means” hung in the heir like a stormcloud.

No stranger to romantic complications himself, Andrew Lloyd Webber departed from his customary oeuvre in 1989 to create – along with lyricists Don Black and Charles Hart – this sour and controversial sung-through musical to interrogate the meaning of love through four people in postwar Europe.

Young American Alex (Jamie Bogyo) snatches an impoverished actress Rose (Laura Pitt-Pulford) and takes her to his Uncle George’s empty chateau for a romantic tryst.

When the bohemian artist George (Michael Ball) arrives he hijacks the capricious Rose for himself and takes her back to Paris.

Many years later, they are reunited and Alex falls for the errant couple’s teenage daughter Jenny (Anna Unwin).

A strange, unhealthy story – based on David Garnett’s 1955 novella – it nonetheless inspired ALW to some of his most memorable music, notably Love

Changes Everything which made a star of Michael Ball who played Alex in the original production. He returns in this revival as Uncle George though still gets to sing the main number through judicious juggling of the script.

Beautifully designed by John MacFarlane, with smooth transitions between scenes depicting theatre dressing rooms, sunlit woods and an empty chateau among others, the staging has a greater fluidity than the story.

Ball brings star wattage to the piece, delivering the key song as a thoughtful contemplation and is equalled by the alluring Danielle de Niese as his bohemian lover, Giulietta.

Pitt-Pulford and Bogyo grow in stature as the show develops and the two Jennys – Katie Mitten as child Jenny on the opening night and Unwin as the teenage version – are terrific.


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