Wolverhampton, Thursday night. I came to this as a longstanding fan, hoping it would still be as good, and generally it still is for me - I came close to giving it four stars. David Essex was exactly as I imagined when the casting was announced (I'm not saying that was bad). Shona Lindsay was outstanding - Anything But Lonely was everything it should be. The mark down to three stars is by being more sexually explicit than it needed, the rewrite of Alex's telegram at the end of Act I didn't work for me (petty but I notice these things) - but the biggest problem for me is again Matt Rawle. It's not just because he's not Michael Ball. I have now seen him in three revivals of shows I love and I just cannot enjoy his voice. - Chris Moorcroft
11 Nov 07
Saw this at Bradford this week. I enjoyed the original West End production years ago and have continued to listen to that soundtrack in the years since so I was looking forward to seeing it again. Overall I found it a difficult production to like. The female performances were excellent all round but the men didn’t match the ladies presence or vocal abilities. Matt Rawle was ‘ok’ as Alex but failed to convey an understanding of why all the women in the story would fall for him and I found him a little one dimensional. David Essex clearly attracted the 85% female audience but appeared bored by the role of George and spoke-sung the lines with a lack of passion or depth and although I know all the lyrics off by heart I found it difficult to understand him in parts.
For a touring production the staging was excellent and overcame the lack of a West End budget and cast size extremely well. Where this show has always suffered is in failing to convey any likeability for any of the characters. They are all fickle in their relationships, with the exception of young Jenny, and therefore it’s hard to feel any sympathy when they each find themselves alone. The score is gentle rather than dramatic and fails to hold a large auditorium. In fact I realised that this show would be far better being staged on a smaller scale in less traditional theatres where perhaps the audience could connect better with the characters.
One for musical buffs this one. Unfortunately the majority of the audience seemed to be waiting to be overwhelmed by a sweeping ballad or weep at the torment of seeing failed relationships when in fact this production leaves you feeling cold.
14 Oct 07
Suprised at the poor reviews as I thought this was a pretty decent show. I thought Matt Rawle was tremendous in Evita, and whilst he's not as naturally suited to the role of Alex (he plays a great angry man !) following a rather diappointing 'Love Changes Everything' opening number he grows into the part and really shines. Which makes the poor reviews for him suprising. Of course the big problem is that its a role and an opening number which will forever be synonomous with Michael Ball, and its true Rawle doesn't have the charisma Ball has but he's still a fine actor with a lovely voice. And, it has to be said vocally it's a different interpretation of the character than the original london cast; Nothing wrong with that of course. The role of Alex is a very handworking, and I think, understated role (given his two big songs occur in the first twenty minutes)- and I think Rawle does justice to it. The females leads were both outstanding - although she sang superbly (really can't understand why Shona Lindsay isn't on a West End stage more) I cared little I cared little for the Rose character. The weakest of all principles was David Essex - granted he may put bum's on seats (opening night in Bradford was crammed to the rafters) but his voice is in no way strong enough and his acting rather lacking depth (his voice really being shown up in the duet with Rawle). James Grahame would have been a better casting call (although isn't he box-office attraction).
The score is lush and beautifuly melondic - although its lack of great variety begins to tire towards the middle of the second half. It has to be said that the first half is stronger than the second - and although the plot in general is gripping, the constant scene changes are cumbersome. It is however a musical to savour - and in the era of musicals based on popular films or juke-box-pap- shows - one to be greatful for. - Richard
11 Oct 07
‘Aspects of love’ has always been my favourite musical since I saw it in London around 1991. I was blown away by the change in direction by Lloyd Webber and personally preferred its much lighter scoring than some of his other works. As you can expect I was thrilled to see its return on the current tour. I went on 6th October 2007 at His Majesty’s in Aberdeen and sadly it was a huge disappointment. So bad in fact that we didn’t stay for the second half.
The main problem seemed to be that it was underprepared. The orchestra didn’t synch with the singers and on many occasions, the singers were desperately trying to pull the orchestra up to speed because the conductor began too slowly. On other occasions, the orchestra drowned out the singers completely. Lack of balance control had you wondering where the story was going. It’s changed a bit too. A few too many new ‘comedy’ moments that were totally uncalled for. And why the nudity? It added nothing to the story and no warning was given beforehand.
The brass and woodwind in particular were the poorest, with a huge amount of missed and ‘cracked’ notes. What added insult to injury was the fact that when this happened, they sat there sniggering about it. My vantage point from the dress circle meant they couldn’t hide. It was actually embarrassing to watch this spectacle unfold. This however doesn’t mean the strings get off lightly. Intonation from the upper strings wasn’t great with vibrato all over the place too. At least the cellist and bass lifted the standard marginally.
I bought tickets for my parent’s anniversary. They went on Friday 5th October. They did in fact sit through the whole performance due to it being a gift. They informed me that at a guess around a third of the audience left for the second half. This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Hugely unprofessional and badly performed. I have seen more professional amateur productions that at least took their performance seriously and didn’t make fools of the audience. I studied at the Royal Academy of Music myself and if we’d behaved like that in a gig we would have been reprimanded and probably kicked out of the next one or replaced.
I don’t want to go on about the on stage performances much because I don’t want to single anyone out in particular. They weren’t bad, but were nothing special either. The struggle with the orchestra did not make their job any easier though. It was more a mish mash and muddle through. My girlfriend hadn’t a clue what was going on. It was rushed and difficult to follow for a newcomer to that show. The song - ‘She’d be far better of with you’ was a total mess with Rose and the housekeeper added on. It was much better before with just George and Alex singing it.
I had built up my girlfriends expectations for a show that lacked any of the flair and charisma of the original production. At the end of the first act you couldn’t have cared less about Alex and his predicament. What compounded this was we were in the Palladium a few weeks earlier to see Lloyd Webber’s new production of the Sound of Music. It was Worlds apart.
We have tickets for Joseph at His Majesty’s in a month’s time. I’ve said it will be good. I’ve seen it around ten times in total. I’m now crossing my fingers to hope for the best. - snapdharlich
08 Oct 07
I felt a top class performance of operetta was given by all the actors. The singing was remarkable and I thought the set changes were very slick. I would urge anyone going to see this production to read the book first, as the story can seem a little complex in parts. I thought the topless scene was very subtle and not as shocking as I was expecting, however, a couple of the other scenes were a little jaw-dropping!
I got the vibe that this current cast will be very well received throughout the tour and ultimately on into the West End.
David Essex plays a very credible Uncle George.
14 Sep 07
Having just viewed the Newcastle performance on 11th September, I have to disagree with some of the more critical reviews of this show, particularly Matt as Alex. After the show the audience's buzz on the way out was all about his magnificent voice and I have to agree. Perhaps several performances have imbued him with more confidence, but he really did command the stage when it was required by the story/score. Guiliana's beautiful soprano was also magnificent, as was Rose, and I can honestly say that this combination plus David Essex - o.k. so his voice is not as classical but it suited the role down to the ground - was one of the best I have ever seen at Newcastle or elsewhere. Professional, precise, committed and enthusiastic, this group of actors should be applauded for their performance. Yes, there were gasps at some of the scenes - notably from the older and perhaps more conservative members of the audience it has to be said! - but what has also not been mentioned in reviews I've seen is the gentle humour inherent in all the performances. The serious side of romance and betrayal tempered by a little dark humour did much to lighten the narrative. The orchestra did their best with a complex score but despite the set changes, my group and I did not feel this negatively affected what was essentially a wonderful performance. - Ellie
12 Sep 07
I have always believed that Aspects of Love is probably Lloyd Weber's best score. I saw the show in London and on tour when it first opened and fell in love with the music. I was delighted that it finally had returned and was at the opening night performance in Newcastle. The original production was never particularly well received by the critics and evidently has failed to impress once again. For me, though, I love the way the scenes run one into another and the emotions are carried between them in an elegant and sophisticated way. The score is almost Wagnerian in the way the composer uses leitmotifs and thematic devices to hold it all together. The story is certainly quite complicated and yet the central theme is embodied by the title: it explores the many aspects of love - good and bad. There is romantic love, fatherly love, motherly love, love of friends (male and female), love of wealth and materialism, love of nature. There are entanglements and conflicts just as in life. There is jealousy and betrayal, reconciliation and forgiveness. All of these and more can be found in the story and the score, and I have found that with each subsequent performance or listening to the CD I find new and subtle nuances. I don't think the new touring company is of the same quality as the original, although Rose and Guilieta, Jenny and the maid are fantastic. I think that Alex is good too although he started out very nervous. David Essex is probably the least compelling of the characters but ironically it is him that most people are there to see. I would like to see him age some more in the various scenes as he heads towards his ultimate demise. The orchestra were a tad ragged at times but the score is complicated and very transparent so mistakes are obvious especially to someone who knows the CD as well as I do. It could have been a bit fresher in places but the scene changes did not bother me a jot. I will be going to see it again in Glasgow and recommend the show wholeheartedly. - Steve
09 Sep 07
I whole heartly agree with the official review, the show is diappointing. The songs are certainly not memorable, Love Changes Everything excepted. The main performers were well capable but I was failed to be engaged with the tale being told and subsquently did not care what happened to any of the characters. The staging was disjointed with too many scene changes although the lighting and the sound was of the highest order. - Alan
Whatsonstage.com - Discount London theatre tickets, theatre news and reviews, Theatre videos, Theatre discussion, National Theatre Listings. Covering London's West End, all of Theatreland and all UK theatre. The best
for London Theatre Ticket Discounts.