Tuesday 6 October 2015

"Aspects Of Love" by Erewash Musical Society
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton

Where and how do I start to tell you what an amazingly good musical Aspects Of Love is, and how good the presentation was of this Andrew Lloyd-Webber little performed mini-classic?

While there may not be many catchy tunes here for you to leave the theatre whistling or humming, the story-line is one of the best, albeit based on the novella by David Garnett. For those who, like me, didn't know what a "novella" is, a novella is a work of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.

It's the story of Alex who at 17 falls for an actress, Rose, and has a torrid affair with her, This peters out when Rose concocts a story to go back home for an acting role,but then we discover that she has started an affair with Alex's uncle, George, who she met while with Alex at his uncle's apartment in France. George though is having an on/off affair with Giulietta, but also sires a child, Jenny, with Rose. Spread over several yeras and the story continues with Alex returning from the army and visiting his uncle and falls back in love with Rose, as well as over time, her daughter Jenny, when Jenny reaches 16. At the funeral of his uncle, Giulietta, makes a move on Alex and he decides that he would be better with her as she is closer to his own age and has to let down both Rose and Jenny. These scenarios making up the many aspects of love.

You can almost forget that you're not watching am professional production here because the standard is so very high. From the brilliant projected background, transporting you from place to place without the need for moving heavy and complicated scenery, to the technical splendour of the projections, bring reality to a static backdrop. All of this the design of Paul Young. The excellent lighting by Dave Dallard and the wonderful orchestra led by Nathan Truesdale, both creating aural and visual excellence.

Zak Charlesworth who played the male lead, Alex, was the very best that I have seen him both confidence wise and vocally. I've known Zak for a few years and I've seen how he has progressed as a singer and actor and tonight, he hit the pinnacle of his career so far. His voice was powerful where it needed to be, tender when it was called for. He looked confident in every delivery of the spoken lines and the songs. Playing Alex could well be the most difficult and demanding role he has performed to date but he gave it everything, and when you think this role was made famous by Michael Ball, then that's a big set of boots to be able to fill, but he pulled it off!

Every actor, either in principal roles or the ensemble gave everything tonight and there were several strong main characters, Tracey Renshaw as Rose was just brilliant and gave an extremely powerful and emotive performance, and what a voice!

Mark Birch, as George, has an amazingly powerful set of vocal chords and was outstanding as actor and singer.

Nadia Potter played the 12 year old Jenny, cute as a button as well as engaging as an actor. Gemma Blake took over as the 16 year old Jenny who caught the eye and the affections of the older Alex. Gemma again has a fantastic voice, as did all the cast. As I say, it was easy to forget that this wasn't a fully professional set up, because the quality was just that.

There are a couple of songs you may recognise such as "Love Changes Everything" and "The First Man You Remember" but the quantity of the songs mean that you get more than your money's worth here. It's almost back to back music, almost in the style of a rock opera but with the style changed to a more classier sound.

This is one Lloyd-Webber musical that is on the list of his better ones, and I urge you to pop along to the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton to partake of the music and talent on show, all this week until Saturday 10 October 2015.Oh yes you'll also love the period costumes and props as it spans the period from 1947 to 1964.

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