Theatre Review: Aspects of Love - Southwark Playhouse ✭✭✭

Aspects of Love

Southwark Playhouse

Review by Caroline Cronin

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s chamber opera Aspects of Love is a quietly desperate tale of sexual politics that spans 17 years, across three generations of the Dillingham family. Modern in its themes, it tackles love in all its forms, between parent and child, youthful infatuation, and same-sex attraction. This triumphant production by Katy Lipson has transferred from a successful run at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre, with a solid ensemble cast that is guided expertly through an intense emotional narrative by director Jonathan O’Boyle.
Aspects of Love has five central characters, all of which are profoundly flawed or utterly desperate. At the very centre of this production is Kelly Price as Rose Vibert, the vivacious, alluring actress who is deeply desperate for love, in all its forms. Price conveys this complex dichotomy of confidence and insecurity with precision and heart, not to mention thrilling vocals.
Felix Mosse has a difficult job as Alex, who, despite being in almost every scene, feels like an underwritten character that jumps from one intense emotion to another without being grounded in any reality. The chemistry between Alex and Rose never feels as exciting as it should, but Mosse excels when he underplays some of the darker moments, bringing a sense of quiet heartbreak to Alex’s plight.
Sam Spencer-Lane’s choreography and Jason Denvir’s set design work seamlessly together to create beautiful ballet-esque moments during scene transitions, as the ensemble energetically dance around the space twirling props on and off stage. From Paris to Pau and back again, the simplicity of the movement combined with the elegant design creates tiny pockets of magic.
It would be remiss not to mention Webber’s score, which helped to launch Michael Ball’s career with Love Changes Everything becoming a well-known hit. Without a full orchestra, the impact of the score is often left wanting, but there are exceptions. Madalena Alberto as Giulietta Trapani and Price as Rose deliver solos that are soaringly powerful and I suspect they’d remain so even without any musical accompaniment. 
This 80’s Webber classic was in need of a revival at this scale, which is able to nimbly navigate the more delicate and subtle complexities of the book whilst still delivering what ultimately can only be described as an emotional juggernaut.
Three stars ✭✭✭

Aspects of Love

Runs at Southwark Playhouse until 9th Feb 2019

Start Time 7:30pm
Matinee Starts 3pm
Running Time 160 mins including interval
Price £27.50 | £22 concessions | All previews £16