Overall Rating – 2 Stars
Welcome to my first review of not only 2019 but of my new series, My Stagey Year!
In a previous blog post I announced that my 2019 resolution was to see more off-West End theatre as, with my job, I tend to just see the big West End shows. So with my 2019 goals in mind I booked myself some tickets to see Aspects of Love at the Southwark Playhouse, both a show and a venue I had never visited before.
I knew nothing about Aspects of Love before seeing it, I knew it was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber but that was about it. In hindsight perhaps it would have been good to have read a synopsis before entering the performance space as it may have saved me some of the confusion that I felt for the majority of the first act. That being said, Aspects of Love is probably one of the most confusing, boring and far fetched musical I have ever seen.
I understand that most musicals are little fantastical, Wicked for example is about a green witch, but! Aspects of Love just took the biscuit for me. If you don’t know the show here’s a little summary…
Aspects of Love is a musical centred around a starving French actress Rose Vibert and her passionate affair with a young soldier called Alex. Throughout a 17 year time period Alex and Rose are torn apart, Rose gets married to Alex’s uncle George and Alex falls in live with his cousin, the 15-year-old Jenny (Rose and George’s daughter).
Right, now onto the review!
Although the production elements of this musical was simply divine (see the below photo to see what I’m on about) is couldn’t detract from the fact that this musical has a thinner plot, and even thinner character development, than cabbage soup.
The musical flashes from scene to scene without ever really allowing the audience to catch up. I spent most of the 2 hour and 40 minute run asking myself “When did that happen?”, ” Wait, what?” and “Oh come on!”. I couldn’t believe that the characters were ever in love when it happened in the space of one second (I get that most characters in most musicals fall in love quickly, but this is the first time I haven’t believed it). The plot was so slap-dash and hurried that I quickly became bored, willing for the end to come. It’s such a shame that characters like Rose and Alex were never fully fleshed out, leaving them to be summed up by ‘an unfaithful women who hates to be alone’ and ‘a hopeless romantic’. So much more could have been done with these two in this musical, heck there’s certainly enough time.
The music, although pleasant, is not to best of Webber’s abilities. The term ‘Paint by Numbers’ comes to mind with none of the goose-bump moments I have come to expect. Easy and childlike, the two stand-out pieces are ‘Love Changes Everything’ and ‘Anything but Lonely’ the rest of the numbers slip by in an unhappy blur of noise.
However, I cannot fault the performances given by our leading lady Kelly Price. As Rose she is a powerhouse, her singing stunning, her characterisation spot on, just such a shame she was never given the opportunity to put Rose out on full display. Felix Mosse as Alex was watery and weak and still seams to think that flaying your arms in the air and shouting is enough acting to portray emotion. He is talented, do not get me wrong, but I think that his performance could have been a little more grown up.
Overall the first instalment of My Stagey Year was okay. The Southwark Playhouse is a lively community space, and I hope I get too see more of their work. Aspects of Love however, is one musical I will not be rushing again to see.
Aspects of Love is now playing at the Southwark Playhouse through to 9 February – Book Tickets
Till next time,