Aspects of Love at Lyric Theatre
It’s perhaps understandable that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love isn’t one of his most popular musicals. While it features some fantastic music with plenty of nuance, promising a great evening, the plot, at times, feels a little bit all over the place. This revival by director Jonathan Kent does tickle the most out of it, and it’s still a great show – however, a trim would do the piece some good.
In terms of the production, there is very little to complain about. The set design by John Macfarlane is stunning, to say the least: gorgeous sets in front of lush paintings, and occasional short videos for scenic transitions that match the atmosphere aptly, depending on what the plot demands at the time. It’s a feast for the eye.
The cast, too, is stellar. Michael Ball, whose career took off with Love Changes Everything, stars as a stupendous George, utilising all his finesse in a lovely performance. Laura Pitt-Pulford steals the show as Rose: she carries a natural elegance that only rarely finds its equal, and charms with her portrayal of a character with very complex motivations. Finally, Jamie Bogyo’s Alex impresses with a gorgeous voice that has nothing to hide. They are accompanied brilliantly by Nicholas Skilbeck’s musical supervision in a sonic experience that is always stunning to listen to.
Alas, the plot: while not bad, it doesn’t live up to the potential promised by other elements of the musical. Its strongest moments feature in act one, when Love Changes Everything is sung, and the audience follows Rose’s flirtations with Alex and her eventual marriage to his uncle George. However, in the second act, the pacing goes on a wild run. It becomes unfocused, and the result is an ending that feels somewhat rushed and sudden.
Nevertheless, these aspects shouldn’t be overstated. Cats, after all, doesn’t have a strong plot and it still works. In terms of the general experience, Aspects of Love is perfectly entertaining throughout, especially on a musical level – and as such, it deserves an unreserved recommendation.
Images: Johan Persson
Aspects of Love is at Lyric Theatre from 13th May until 11th November 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.