One of the best musicals I've ever seen. - Morten Aagaard
11 May 11
GET THERE BEFORE 26th Sept: As promised, returned to AoL, not for the second time but for the third! My record for any entertainment, only my Fellini film on VHS reached this level. It must be Ms Kingsley’s consistent and professional performance as the emotionally flighty lead-libertine (Rose) that wins the day – and gets me back. It would have been good to see a few more seconds of Ms Kingsley’s dancing abilities at her husband’s (Dave Willetts) wake. Over the three viewings I’ve warmed much more to Mr. Arden’s rising performance as Alex; cutting-a-dash with the ladies. Following on from ten top W/E shows over recent weeks this beats them all. The whole company deserves much praise, catch them before it ends - flowers on the way. NOTES: Seeing the main back-projection screen again confirmed that it’s excessive. If one must spell-it-all-out, perhaps setting the screen flush with the back-flat (back stage space allowing, even if restricted view for some audience) would reduce it's prominence. For the matinee on 4th Sept. Jenny (aged 12) was played by Suzy Oxenham wearing heavy eyeliner and/or mascara. Why go through all the logistics (chaperones etc.) of hiring a minor who then looks eighteen? Slap wrists, nicely of course. Mr. Arden; a touch of brylcreem towards the latter scenes would add extra panache (haircut noted), after all you do have three women throwing themselves at you. That won’t override the inadequate and troubled soul Alex might be underneath. PS: Menier is now very comfortable with good legroom and excellent view lines - Stevie
13 Sep 10
I love this show. Pity it's ending soon. Michael Arden has truly justified the role for Alex - Moose Pearson
03 Sep 10
ADDENDUM: It did occur to me that Mr. Arden may have his personal reasons for failing to appear aroused by all those gorgeous ladies; jetlag from NY? I’d better stop there. Vocally he’s very good, Streisand ain’t going suffer any less than the best on tour.
LBW likes staging in-house stories of medya about medya (entertainment about entertainment) and Joe Public are happy to be fed incestuous shows. Worse still AoL is left open for a sequel; well Alex must be Jenny’s natural father! Fortunately the customers nor the medya will tolerate LBW milking this one. So the treatment will stay in the drawer until discovered by a wannabe director many decades forth, an LBW season of ‘the ones we didn’t suffer’ at The RSC. Lovya
02 Sep 10
When the paint dries - mid-run comments:
Virgin viewed last night at Menier Chocolate Factory, 'never saw the original RUG prod’ so perhaps I was advantaged; it’s difficult for audiences that have memories of previous productions. This quite long show just flew by for me, I’ll return before close on 26th Sept'. By-the-way, Menier’s padded bench seating (numbered) is now much improved with good legroom, in fact I found myself never needing to change buttocks; there’s efficient air-con too. The most comfortable and enjoyable night out I can remember; ten West End shows over the last few weeks for comparison.
Contrary to high praise I was not convinced how Alex (Michael Arden), a somewhat inadequate and star struck young male, ends up with two very special women and a teenager desperate to shack up with him. Some women just have to go for losers, I started to have hallucinations about his lunch box he was so lacking in other directions. Character development over the scenes (spanning many years) of a tad more panache might convince. Perhaps it was a bad night for Mr. Arden, he did appear tired, but more likely Nunn has directed all libido out of him for good reason. The second half focuses Alex’s relationship with his much younger cousin Jenny; that had me researching European age of consent when I got home – some surprises there. Background knowledge of author David Garnett helps understand his motivations behind the original story.
Some comments about Katherine Kingsley (as Rose) are most unkind, she held the show together with talented and professional dedication. Now I’m no musician but driving home I was able to detect Madonna hitting a bum note in a highly produced single. I’m struggling to think where Ms. Kingsley put a note or word wrong; just a brilliant performance, perfectly cast.
The numerous back projection screens worked quite well for the outdoor scenes but the large permanent screen was distracting and best discarded, is never-ending sequence of stills really necessary? The opening scene of LND makes the same mistake of underestimating the intelligence of the customers, not long and we will see shows projecting ‘The End’. (tissues not required)
01 Sep 10
It's easy to pick holes in Aspects of Love: there are only two or three songs constantly recycled; the dialogue should have been spoken not sung-through; the leading man falls in love with an underage schoolgirl and it was brilliantly satirised by Forbidden Broadway as 'I Slept With Everyone'. Whilst it's true that nearly all the characters are amoral narcissists their story is engaging and Trevor Nunn's uncharacteristically understated production perfectly matches what is essentially a chamber piece with the intimate surroundings of the Chocolate Factory. Aspects is best remembered for Love Changes Everything of course but it also boasts some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most lushly romantic melodies done full justice by an excellent cast. Michael Arden is supeb as Alex (and a dead ringer for George from Grey's Anatomy) although I don't know why it was felt necessary to bring in an American to play one of only two English characters. My wife thought Katherine Kingsley over-acted, but I felt she was ideal as the divaesque Rose, so desperate not to be left alone. Given the repetitive nature of the score Aspects does not bear repeated viewings but it's good to be reminded that it is one of Lloyd Webber's most under-rated gems. - David Baxter
30 Aug 10
I admit I'm a long-term fan of this show in numerous stagings over the years so I had high hopes. I was not disappointed. Good performances all round, especially Michael Arden. Nothing wrong with the projections - all perfectly logical - and well staged within the venue restrictions. Moving most of Love Changes Everything even works. Would have been a five star review if not for the use of French dialogue, especially in the Montpellier scenes - there's lot going on here so it ought to be in English, even for someone familiar with the show. - Chris Moorcroft
02 Aug 10
I have always loved this show musically but felt the staging of it too much. It was always clear that this was an intimate show. One not threatened by grandeur and majesty of design but by the characters and their behaviour.
Yesterday we went to the Menier and WOW what a show. I cannot praise it enough.
Katherine Kngsley exuded a beauty and sensuality on stage i have not seen for many years. she portrayed Rose as she shoul;d be played. Every move calculated, selfish and with an ego to defy all others.
Dave Willets as ever was masterful but for the first time in the many times I have seen this show, you actually understood why Rose would fall for him. Unlike Kevin Colson 20 years ago. He has charisma charm and sex appeal-or so my wife tells me.
Michael Arden was superb as Alex his voice having a wonderful gentle quality but boy can he hit the notes. his acting and accent perfect. And Rosalie Craig as Giulietta was perfect. Sexy savvy smart and the real moral centre of the show.
I am not sure why Alex's age was changed to 19 at the beginning and Jenny's to 16 -maybe that says something about our times.
I wholeheartedly recommend this production to anyone as yet another triumph for the Menier - Chris L
02 Aug 10
Fantastic production not quite a 5 star but a very high 4 star. I very much enjoyed the simple set although i loathe that stupid screen please get rid of it i found it more a distraction than an aid to the performance. The cast were all very strong and i believed thier characters. i found this production to be much stronger than the previous tour which i saw and ii found it less boring which was good. i would agree wioth a previous post though that the show does eem very rushed yet somehow very slow and long but i would strongly reccomend this production to anyone. - Joshua Luke
28 Jul 10
Great revival. Absorbing and moving. Fantastic performances throughout. Hadn't been to the Menier before so was blown away by what can be achieved in such a small space. - PJ
26 Jul 10
After the dud of Paradise Found this sees the Menier back on form. Sorry for those who found it dull but I felt that way over the over rated Sweet Charity. For me this is a perfect chamber musical, it may not have glitter and glam but is a sensative, grown up musical that is performed beautifully. I don't know about nodding heads, the audience tonight were gripped. - Tim
25 Jul 10
Well, I never thought I’d see two duds in the same year at the Menier, let alone two within 5 weeks! This revival of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s chamber musical follows hot on the heels of the dreadful Paradise Found.
This is going to sound bizarre, but the most extraordinary thing about this show is that it’s dreadfully slow but seems rushed. It tries to cover too much ground in far too many scenes and in doing so it lacks depth of both characterisation and narrative. As you leave one scene, you can almost hear them say ‘right, quick, let’s do the circus scene then get the props off and move on to sunset at the Pyrenees house’. It didn’t involve me, engage me or move me at all. There are some nice tunes, but two or three of them return so often it becomes relentless and you start thinking ’oh no, here’s that Love Changes Everything’ tune back again; the small orchestra play the score beautifully though. Michael Arden as Alex and Dave Willetts as George were believable and do their best with the material, but I’m afraid I thought Katherine Kingsley was badly miscast as Rose and her singing occasionally made me wince. The best performance by far was Rosalie Craig (who was also the best thing about Jermyn Street’s ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ recently) as Guilietta. The rest of the cast has little to do, so perhaps they should have worked more on their French pronunciation (there’s a fair bit of spoken / sung French) which was truly dreadful. The usually talented David Farley has over-designed it and it comes out tacky. Given the number of scenes, locations and periods, it would have been much better to follow a more minimalist approach.
All in all, I’m afraid it left me completely cold - and it was a very long 2 hrs 45 mins; thank god for the new seats and a bit of portable aircon! Give it a miss and wait for the real thing when it transfers from Chichester to the West End – Howard Goodall’s Love Story. - Gareth James
22 Jul 10
I thought cast, direction and orchestration were fantastic. The musci is soaring and deep. My main problem is the storyline of entangled love is so unbelievable and over the top. However, I'd recommend this production to anyone who wants to see flawless musical theatre performances - derek
20 Jul 10
Just beautiful; I cried buckets. Michael Arden and Katherine Kingsley give sensational performances that eclipse memories of Michael Ball and Ann Crumb in the original version. Another triumph for the Menier; can't wait to see it again. - ajh
19 Jul 10
I was bored and found great amusement in the nodding heads in front of me, as people were dropping off! Dull Dull Dull!
Backhanders to the press??? Who knows..? - Nick
17 Jul 10
Well, I didn't know the show before, and loved it despite being a bit cynical. My wife, not a great musical theatre fan, thought it fab - "a bit like a soap opera". Performances marvellous, Menier Magic again. - tim
17 Jul 10
I loved it. One of the best musicals I've ever seen.
If you like ALW-musicals then go see it ;) - Morten Aagaard
16 Jul 10
Didnt Michael Coveny interview Trevor Nunn in the programme? That explains the hideously wrong and gushing review.... - Trevor
16 Jul 10
Is Coveny in drugs? Beautifully designed? It looked ugly and cheap. And Katherine Kingsley is so miscast. - Nick
16 Jul 10
Better singing, better acting, better cast( no one can replace Michael Ball's performance ), better venue that I one I saw when it first opened in the West End. But I don't trust Michael Coveney reviews any more esp when he said Love Never Dies has the best score. Menier Theatre is back on the map ! - from an audience point of view
16 Jul 10
Very Bland--I never take much note of what the critics say as usually find the rave over something which is awful and yet when something I feel is good, they reckon is brilliant??. The only memorable song in this is "Love changes Everything" which is hammered to death!!! Did not think much of it first time round either though I do Love Lloyd Webber productions in general - Joe Spiteri
16 Jul 10
I really wouldn't pay too much attention to what Coveney thinks. - tomripley
16 Jul 10
If Coveney thinks that this bland trudge through the lives of a few boring demi-monde dwellers offers "raw, bleeding chunks", he really ought to get out more. Its naff as hell, as exciting as a Nice biscuit and intellectually idiotic. To use the name of Mozart to describe it is positively berserk. - Petula
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