Aspects of Love

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Aspects of Love

Post  Paula74 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:07 pm

Just saw this piece on BroadwayWorld:

http://westend.broadwayworld.com/article/Webbers_ASPECTS_OF_LOVE_Plays_Menier_Chocolate_Factory_Nunn_to_Helm_20100217

I, for one, would love to see the show revived on Broadway, too. I've always loved the original cast recording and regret not seeing it when I (almost) had a chance. Though I have to admit that I was a bit young and didn't quite understand the whole plot...and the novel confused me further.

But it's now pretty high on my list of favorite Lloyd Webber shows.

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:18 pm

I saw this piece of news as well today...exciting stuff! Even better is the fact that the Menier is also premiering Hal Prince's new musical which is supposed to star Mandy Patinkin and Judy Kaye, so looking forward to that too. Cool

I saw a professional regional production of Aspects years ago and remember liking it. I don't remember the intricate plot details but I remember thinking the story flowed very well.

Not sure if it will ever be revived on Broadway though...didn't it bomb there? It was a moderate success in London and made a small profit. Maria Björnson took on designing duties again. Personally I thought the original London production was a bit too overblown for what is essentially a chamber piece.

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Thu May 20, 2010 10:50 am

Booked to see the revival in early July. Can't wait! I just wish it wasn't Trevor Nunn directing...

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Sun May 30, 2010 1:27 pm

Dave Willetts, the first ever post-Crawford principal Phantom, is going to be George! Nice casting decision. I thought he was great as Max in last year's Sunset revival.

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  operafantomet on Sun May 30, 2010 8:17 pm

Scorp wrote:Booked to see the revival in early July. Can't wait! I just wish it wasn't Trevor Nunn directing...
Why not? (I am of course familiar with the name, but I don't know what his style is like)

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:28 pm

operafantomet wrote:
Scorp wrote:Booked to see the revival in early July. Can't wait! I just wish it wasn't Trevor Nunn directing...
Why not? (I am of course familiar with the name, but I don't know what his style is like)

Mainly because I was hoping for the first major revival to show a completely different side of Aspects, which may not happen if we get the same director a second time around. I wonder how much of his direction of the original production he will cannibalise? Or will he start from scratch all over again? Hmmm...

I also don't really like Nunn-directed musicals. Les Mis and Sunset are my exceptions. Musicals need their flaws to be covered up rather than exposed to the world, and I think Nunn has a habit of doing the latter. That said, his more psychological approach might work for a piece like Aspects. My other problem with Nunn is that every single time he gets involved with an ALW show, the production gets overblown beyond belief. Aspects was supposed to be a chamber piece and yet he somehow turned it into a glitzy overblown West End wannabe megamusical the first round. We all love Maria Bjørnson but I don't think the designs worked for the original production (there were some nice bits though), but I lay the blame with Nunn for making it too overblown. Granted, this is unlikely to happen this time given the venue and the different economy we're in.

Also, four words: The Woman in White. Did Nunn even bother doing anything when he was supposed to direct that piece? It was a very lazy and completely inappropriate production.

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  ML6 on Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:18 pm

Scorp wrote:
operafantomet wrote:
Scorp wrote:Booked to see the revival in early July. Can't wait! I just wish it wasn't Trevor Nunn directing...
Why not? (I am of course familiar with the name, but I don't know what his style is like)

Mainly because I was hoping for the first major revival to show a completely different side of Aspects, which may not happen if we get the same director a second time around. I wonder how much of his direction of the original production he will cannibalise? Or will he start from scratch all over again? Hmmm...

I also don't really like Nunn-directed musicals. Les Mis and Sunset are my exceptions. Musicals need their flaws to be covered up rather than exposed to the world, and I think Nunn has a habit of doing the latter. That said, his more psychological approach might work for a piece like Aspects. My other problem with Nunn is that every single time he gets involved with an ALW show, the production gets overblown beyond belief. Aspects was supposed to be a chamber piece and yet he somehow turned it into a glitzy overblown West End wannabe megamusical the first round. We all love Maria Bjørnson but I don't think the designs worked for the original production (there were some nice bits though), but I lay the blame with Nunn for making it too overblown. Granted, this is unlikely to happen this time given the venue and the different economy we're in.

Also, four words: The Woman in White. Did Nunn even bother doing anything when he was supposed to direct that piece? It was a very lazy and completely inappropriate production.

The problem with Trevor Nunn is that he treats EVERYTHING like it was a Shakespeare piece. It really annoys me. Sometimes it's justifiable, sometimes it's not.

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Aspects of Love

Post  ladygodiva on Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:00 pm

Allways loved this show, great score, great acting, moving funny and warm and sometimes cold,

Ann Crumb, played the most assertive and high strung and not an apology needed Rose Vilbert

Sarah Brightman played a more sweeter Rose Vilbert,

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:02 pm

ladygodiva wrote:Allways loved this show, great score, great acting, moving funny and warm and sometimes cold,

Ann Crumb, played the most assertive and high strung and not an apology needed Rose Vilbert

Sarah Brightman played a more sweeter Rose Vilbert,

Yes, Crumb's Rose did strike me as rather cold. It is sort of difficult to sympathise with any of the characters in Aspects. I suppose to some extent you could say the same of the characters from A Little Night Music, although I find them more endearing.

Ladygodiva, you made me so jealous that you saw Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman and Rebecca Caine and Colm Wilkinson in Phantom; and now you're doing it all over again! I take it you saw the show in New York? It must have been strange to have Aspects at the Broadhurst planted right next to Phantom at the Majestic, especially when Sarah Brightman was in it!

I'm on the fence about whether this story is right for a musical. Hal Prince apparently read the novella after ALW gave it to him and told ALW to give up.

However, it is definitely one of ALW's best scores and gives Phantom a run for its money in terms of its sheer romantic quality. Such gorgeous bucolic music, and also some of ALW's most sophisticated and daring (take 'Falling', for example). Ironically, I think the show's most famous song, 'Love Changes Everything', is also one of the weakest parts of the show. Was the flashback device really necessary this time, or could we have jumped straight into Rose performing to an empty theatre? The 'Love Changes Everything' tune also can become quickly tiresome and irritating...but maybe I say that because it's so overplayed. It's a bit of an awkward melody to write decent lyrics for though.

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Aspects of Love

Post  ladygodiva on Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:42 pm

I absolutely loved the score, one of Andrews' top scores, in NY when Michael Ball and Ann Crumb sang "Seeing is Believing" the part in the song at the end "From winning your love" that note both Michael and Ann held that note so long it was amazing, at least twice as long as the CD. I loved the whole Ensemble, At first I really thought that I was not going to like Ann but she was a great actress. and yes a very assertive almost get what I want Rose Vilbert and step on anyone that gets in the way. Although she would'nt step hard on anyone. She blew me away like Rebecca Caine did as Christine, Ann could really really act. and she was really a nice singer, not the best voice but you can tell she new how to sing. The woman who played Guillietta, was phoenominal was well, and Michael Ball, Yummy Yummy, cute, adorable and the VOICE, totally charming, I really regret not able to see him as Roaul. and the guy who played Marcel was tops, he and Ann had a fun rapport, and George, no wonder two women loved him in all his charming, art forgery ways. (I cannot think of their names, I will start to dig up my programs, and playbills. In some parts Ann was allmost vixen like, in some parts Ann was totally a tender and almost sweet Rose. I guess anyone can play a part but she was fabulous

All in all a great story, all kinds of love is examined a wonderful sort of soap opera gone musical.

and with Sarah in the show much later, charming, not as good an actress as Ann Crumb was, but vocally Sarah was stellar, and added a warmth to Rose. the whole cast was charming as well, and to me this time around it seemed like the "Everybody loves a hero song either was shortend or seemed to be cut (I could be imaging it, it has been a long time. I loved, loved loved sarah singing "anything but lonely" she actually seemed to step out of her mold and ruled that song and that moment, and on that song she gave Rose a little bit of a thorn.

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:56 pm

The new Aspects summed up IMHO...

The good

  • MICHAEL ARDEN. London just doesn't generate talent like this. It's a sad truism that in general Broadway pwns the West End when it comes to talented musical theatre performers (but understandable I suppose insofar as Broadway = musical theatre). He manages to make Alex's character sympathetic by playing the role far, far more innocently than Michael Ball, whose Alex by comparison came across quite reckless and selfish. The question, though, is whether it's necessary for the audience to find him sympathetic or would it be more illuminating to expose the recklessness that tends to arise when someone is in love? Regardless, Arden is fantastic. Great voice and a great at convincing the audience he's an Englishman, not just in accent, but in temperament and character too.

  • Dave Willetts. A great Phantom, a great Max in Sunset and an even better George in Aspects. I would lose the moustache though. It makes him look like Dick van Dyke in Diagnosis Murder.

  • Some improved lyrics. Most songs have had a few lyric changes which are generally for the better as the original included quite a few cringeworthy ones. Unfortunately a couple of songs (namely 'There is more to love') which needed a complete lyric rewrite didn't get it. Work is still needed to get the libretto up to scratch.

  • Cutting 'Love Changes Everything'...but not completely. The song is still there but the second half of it is moved to the end of Act 1, which solves the problem of an overload of that song via end-of-Act reprises. It's weird how the most famous song of Aspects is also its weakest and most obnoxiously annoying.

  • Cutting the scene about a random wall being the talk of Pau. There were probably a few more things from Act II that should have been cut as it did begin to drag ever so slightly, but this was judicious cull.
The botched

  • I always thought the characters in the original production were too Anglicised, such that you had no idea that there was a difference in nationality between Rose, Giulietta and Alex and George. I also thought it would be bizarre for English to be spoken the entire time in the show in light of that. This production aims to fix that, with the two scenes in the theatre and the immediate moments after now being played entirely in French. I'm not sure I would have had the French last as long as it did though; the audience started to look perplexed. It also doesn't help if the leading lady takes French caricature to an extreme and the ensemble struggles to get their tongues around the language. At least Trevor tried...but this wasn't successful.

  • We don't have Alex reprising love never letting you be the same YET AGAIN for the finale, which is a relief (the tune is played by the orchestra, however), but I still think the ending could be significantly shortened by ending almost as soon as Alex walks out on Rose. We don't need to see him leave with Giulietta, it's obvious he's going back to her. I would probably have the orchestra jump straight to those final lines of the 'Love Changes Everything' theme after Rose's 'Don't leave me!' plea.

  • Part of the 'Chanson d'enfance' is restored...and I can't make up my mind about what I think about it. It's pretty but ALW recycled it as seems to be his wont in Whistle Down the Wind. It now feels soiled.

  • What could have been an interesting way of staging 'Love Changes Everything' (Alex going through his photo album) is not properly executed. In certain scenes Alex has his camera, and had this been shown more, the ending could perhaps have been fixed by a framing device rather than abandoning the flashback. It would have been fitting with the general wistful autumnal tone of the piece, with its quasi-Proustian emphasis on memory. The photos used in the projections could also have related to the scenes being acted out on stage...instead they seemed completely random and at times just inappropriate. One of the most sophisticated moments of ALW's score, 'Falling', is ruined because there are random clown faces (left over from the circus scene just preceding it) still on the screen at the back -- difficult to take this seriously!

  • The lesbianism. The kiss between Rose and Giulietta came across as totally random and I thought there should have been some build-up to it by making their relationship a bit more ambiguous re the sexual element.

  • Why exactly is Alex now 19 instead of 17 at the beginning and why is Jenny one year older? What difference does that make? Makes lines like 'So do I' as a reply to Rose's 'I feel seventeen again' slightly less funny. Maybe it's a reference to the original novella, I have no idea as I've never read it...

  • The shooting scene at George's place. I'm not sure the gun worked and the whole thing came across as a pretty awful farce. I know it's supposed to have comedy in it (e.g. 'My only genuine Matisse...') but still, I'm not sure what I think about singing 'She'd Be Far Better Off With You' while Rose is still on stage (and bizarrely says nothing in reply; apparently she doesn't mind being treated as an transferable object) and Rose was just...bad (see below).

  • That overture before 'Love Changes Everything' is unnecessary and removes the impact of starting immediately with that song. And in a Trevor Nunn production, the last thing you want to do is make things longer!

  • The idea of making some of the recitative more naturalistic by speak-singing it. It didn't really work because the speaking was too hammy and some pretty melodies were ruined. I also think the music used for the recitative in this show works well enough and flows quite well, it moves at a conversational pace. Where recitative is a major problem IMHO is The Woman in White.
The not-so-great

  • Katherine Kingsley. She is not at all suited to the role of Rose and as a result the whole show suffers since Rose is, alongside Alex, the crux of the show. Get the casting of Rose wrong and it's like going to see Hamlet with a bad Hamlet. Apparently I saw her in Piaf as Marlene Dietrich but don't remember her being so bad there. But truly I have never seen such hammy acting before on the professional stage, and that includes the disastrous Paradise Found. Things that weren't supposed to be funny and should have in fact been quite emotional made the audience laugh out loud, her French temperament extended to a very heavy caricatural accent and lots of shouting and she couldn't even sing the role, so whenever the notes were too high she would speak them instead, meaning a lot of potentially pretty melodies were unsung. No subtlety, no sympathy, nothing. And if you're going to go small scale and intimate, then you do need subtlety. 'A memory of a happy moment' her performance certainly won't be. 'Anything But Lonely' was pure torture and it was difficult not to laugh; was she deliberately playing it as though drunk?!

  • The ensemble. So-so in general, didn't really care for Marcel played by Martyn Ellis, who was similarly Frenched up in an unconvincing way. In the scenes now played in French he was putting emphasis on every syllable as if repeating a French teacher, and even then managed to get it wrong. Randomly halfway through he gave up and seemed to lapse from pseudo-French into cockney ('Je swee dayzolay'...oh dear). They may as well have stuck him in a striped shirt and a beret with onions around his neck for all the effect this had.

  • The set. It looked cheap, I suppose because it was. While I thought Bjørnson's set for the original was too overblown in scale, it looked SO much classier than what we have to look at today. Sad how theatre economics has got to this state. The random images on the screen at the back were distracting and irrelevant and added nothing. I didn't care for the costumes either.
All in all a 3/5, with most credit going towards ALW's gorgeous score that is let down by a poor production and only a serviceable libretto. Oh and major major kudos to Michael Arden, who I hope will star in more things in London in the future. It is a shame the revival has not 'unlocked' Aspects in the way I might have hoped... For a real chance of Aspects getting the production it deserves in London, it looks like we will have to wait another twenty years.

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Aspects of Love

Post  ladygodiva on Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:59 pm

Scorp; I love your take on it... Marvelous

P.s. How was "Other Pleasures" done, how does it compare with Kevin Colson, it is actually one of my fav songs of the piece


Last edited by ladygodiva on Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:03 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added)

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:24 am

ladygodiva wrote:Scorp; I love your take on it... Marvelous

P.s. How was "Other Pleasures" done, how does it compare with Kevin Colson, it is actually one of my fav songs of the piece

Kevin Colson's rendition was superior. I can't even remember how it was done in the original, was Kevin just sat in a chair? Cos that's what happened here with Dave Willetts. It was a good rendition of the song but I didn't find it particularly outstanding.

Interestingly, the London reviewers were a lot kinder to the show than I thought they were going to be and many of them gave it four stars. I wonder if it'll transfer to the West End. If it does, though, I really, really can't see this going to Broadway. I just don't think this production or this cast are top quality.

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  ladygodiva on Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:06 pm

just another fact, in the previews in New York, Ann Crumb hurt her self on the stage tread

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Scorp on Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:48 pm

ladygodiva wrote:just another fact, in the previews in New York, Ann Crumb hurt her self on the stage tread

Really? She had a massive injury involving her foot that prematurely ended her London run but I don't remember something happening to her in New York!

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Re: Aspects of Love

Post  Paula74 on Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:15 pm

Just heard that the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia will be doing Aspects of Love as part of their 2011-2012 season.

I'm hoping I can make a trip down there to catch it. It's very high on the list of shows I'd love to see and the history geek in me is dying to go back to the Walnut

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