Aspects of Love – Reviews Round-up

Aspects of Love at the Menier Chocolate Factory - Reviews Round-upPhew! The Menier Chocolate Factory is back on form after the slight blip that was Paradise Found. A collective sigh was heard across the Review pit as Trevor Nunn’s unfinished business with Aspects of Love garnered largely positive reviews from the critics, who weren’t always enamoured with the lyrics but heaped much praise on Nunn’s intimate chamber staging, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music and the accomplished cast.

Given Nunn’s success with A Little Night Music, there will be much expectation that this will transfer to the West End and beyond.

 

Read a round of reviews below.

The Times, Dominic Maxwell

★★★

“Nunn has returned the show to something closer to the original intention: something more intimate, more evocative – a chamber musical. And it’s a bit of a triumph.”
“Lloyd Webber’s show ravishes and beguiles, Nunn’s meticulous production casting a lustful spell around this 180-seat theatre. Yes, the sung-through score plunders heavily its signature tune Love Changes Everything. But it feels not so much repetitive as hypnotic. It summons up the South of France setting and provides a consistently soft landing for Don Black and Charles Hart’s deft lyrics.”
“Katherine Kingsley is gorgeous, capricious yet vulnerable as Rose, selling her closing number Anything But Lonely with a resilience that might just snap in two.”
“While Aspects offers pain as well as pleasure, it’s less magnetic when it slips nearer the heart than the groin.”
“Nunn’s last Menier show, A Little Night Music, went on to the West End and triumph on Broadway. This one’s just about as good.”

The Independent, Michael Coveney

★★★

“A tapestry, or profusion, of ingeniously interwoven musical ideas with several other stand-out songs.”
“This brilliant little revival is a musical mini-masterpiece, with a score of insinuating beauty and real emotional muscle in which the characters in a daisy chain of love across the French Pyrenees.”
“Michael Arden, a young Broadway singer making his London debut, even makes Alex sympathetic, if not all that likeable, by the simple expedient of playing him quietly and thoughtfully. He sings beautifully, too.”
“Nunn is also doing here what he does better than anyone else: forging an instant ensemble, organically dedicated to the piece.”
“David Farley’s set is a panelled wall of paintings, photos and apertures, with evocative views of the Pyrenees. It’s all very simple, and all achieved, like the performance, to an unusually high standard.”

The Stage, Mark Shenton

“This daringly modern and modest musical.” ”
Trevor Nunn now returns to re-stage it as the beautiful intimate chamber musical that was always struggling to get out.”
“Lloyd Webber’s score, with its strong romantic echoes of Richard Rodgers, is beautifully played by a string-based orchestra under the musical direction of Tom Murray, and gorgeously sung.”
“Dave Willetts brings gravity and heft to his uncle George. The luminous Katherine Kingsley and Rosalie Craig are clearly worth fighting over as the two women in their lives.”

The Guardian, Michael Billington

★★★

“Cutting shows down to size is a special province of the Menier, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1989 musical certainly gains from the process… But, while Trevor Nunn’s production achieves a chamber intimacy befitting a story about Bloomsburyite bed-hopping, it still can’t solve all the problems in the uncredited libretto.” ”
“What is fascinating is to see how the structural problems are reflected in the through-composed score. Lloyd Webber is a fine melodist, but in the first half no tune is allowed to settle, with the exception of the frequently repeated Love Changes Everything. Only later, when drama replaces a succession of incidents, does the music blossom.” ”
“Nunn’s production yields a stellar performance from Katherine Kingsley as Rose.”

Telegraph, Dominic Cavendish

★★★

“Both composer and director wanted to give it another whirl, strip it down, pare it back a bit, give it room to breathe naturally in a chamber setting. Has it worked? The answer is a resounding yes.” ”
“The evening beats at an ardent, hard and fast pace, driving us from one scene to the next, one period to the next… and from one entanglement to the next.” ”
“Truth be told, the lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart err on the bland side.” ”
“Rosalie Craig excels as the latter’s sometime mistress Giulietta and Rebecca Brewer shows exceptional promise as the young girl who brings the romantic confusions full circle.”

Average rating score for this production:
AVERAGE STAR RATING

REVIEWS ROUND-UP

"Nunn has returned the show to something closer to the original intention: something more intimate, more evocative - a chamber musical. And it's a bit of a triumph."
"Lloyd Webber's show ravishes and beguiles, Nunn's meticulous production casting a lustful spell around this 180-seat theatre. Yes, the sung-through score plunders heavily its signature tune Love Changes Everything. But it feels not so much repetitive as hypnotic. It summons up the South of France setting and provides a consistently soft landing for Don Black and Charles Hart's deft lyrics."
"Katherine Kingsley is gorgeous, capricious yet vulnerable as Rose, selling her closing number Anything But Lonely with a resilience that might just snap in two."
"While Aspects offers pain as well as pleasure, it's less magnetic when it slips nearer the heart than the groin."
"Nunn's last Menier show, A Little Night Music, went on to the West End and triumph on Broadway. This one's just about as good." - The Times
"A tapestry, or profusion, of ingeniously interwoven musical ideas with several other stand-out songs."
"This brilliant little revival is a musical mini-masterpiece, with a score of insinuating beauty and real emotional muscle in which the characters in a daisy chain of love across the French Pyrenees."
"Michael Arden, a young Broadway singer making his London debut, even makes Alex sympathetic, if not all that likeable, by the simple expedient of playing him quietly and thoughtfully. He sings beautifully, too."
"Nunn is also doing here what he does better than anyone else: forging an instant ensemble, organically dedicated to the piece."
"David Farley's set is a panelled wall of paintings, photos and apertures, with evocative views of the Pyrenees. It's all very simple, and all achieved, like the performance, to an unusually high standard." - The Independent
"This daringly modern and modest musical." "
Trevor Nunn now returns to re-stage it as the beautiful intimate chamber musical that was always struggling to get out."
"Lloyd Webber's score, with its strong romantic echoes of Richard Rodgers, is beautifully played by a string-based orchestra under the musical direction of Tom Murray, and gorgeously sung."
"Dave Willetts brings gravity and heft to his uncle George. The luminous Katherine Kingsley and Rosalie Craig are clearly worth fighting over as the two women in their lives." - The Stage
"Cutting shows down to size is a special province of the Menier, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1989 musical certainly gains from the process... But, while Trevor Nunn's production achieves a chamber intimacy befitting a story about Bloomsburyite bed-hopping, it still can't solve all the problems in the uncredited libretto." "
"What is fascinating is to see how the structural problems are reflected in the through-composed score. Lloyd Webber is a fine melodist, but in the first half no tune is allowed to settle, with the exception of the frequently repeated Love Changes Everything. Only later, when drama replaces a succession of incidents, does the music blossom." "
"Nunn's production yields a stellar performance from Katherine Kingsley as Rose." - The Guardian
"Both composer and director wanted to give it another whirl, strip it down, pare it back a bit, give it room to breathe naturally in a chamber setting. Has it worked? The answer is a resounding yes." "
"The evening beats at an ardent, hard and fast pace, driving us from one scene to the next, one period to the next... and from one entanglement to the next." "
"Truth be told, the lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart err on the bland side." "
"Rosalie Craig excels as the latter's sometime mistress Giulietta and Rebecca Brewer shows exceptional promise as the young girl who brings the romantic confusions full circle." - The Telegraph

Date: 19 July 2010
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