Jealousies and passions wax and wane as David Garnett’s 1955 romantic novella Aspects of Love is given a first rate outing by Walk This Way Productions at the Hayes Theatre this summer.
With music and book by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart, director Andrew J. Bevis deftly modulates the ebbs and flows of passion in a production that exudes sophistication whilst revelling in lush leitmotif-filled melodies and emotive sensibilities.
With more than a nod to the infamous Bloomsbury set, act one focusses on a love-struck seventeen year old, Alex Dillingham (Jonathan Hickey) who is infatuated with fledgling actress Rose Vibert (Caitlin Berry), who succumbs to, but chooses his older, richer, art-forging uncle George (Grant Smith), who also finds time for Italian sculptress Giulietta Trapani (Stefanie Jones), who, in turn, is attracted to Rose.
Act two is set some 13 plus years later, where Alex, having reconciled with Rose and George, finds himself pursued by their 15-year-old daughter Jenny, with fatal consequences for the jealous George, leading to an affair with Giulietta.
Set in “the world of an abandoned theatre”, Bevis has chosen to tell this tale in “a world where stories, artists and creation come together.” Steven Smith’s design looks stunning under John Rayments evocative lighting, keeping the tightly drilled ensemble busy, transitioning each scene smoothly. Tim Chappel’s costumes evoke a bygone era.
Leading a 14-piece ensemble, Geoffrey Castles’ musical direction is superb. Aided by Alan Luggers carefully balanced sound design, the score’s richly textured themes and lush melodies are allowed to take flight.
Fully grasping the material at hand, the principal cast, Berry, Hickey, Jones and Smith are an accomplished quartet. Musical highlights include Berry’s Anything But Lonely, Jones’ There is More to Love and Smith’s The First Man You Remember.
They are ably supported by a stellar ensemble who excel in the lively numbers Everybody Loves a Hero and Hand Me the Wine and the Dice, with special mention to Ava Carmont, David Hooley, Wendy-Lee Purdy and Matthew Manahan who shine in supportive roles. Intelligent mise-en-scene complemented by a series of stunning performances makes this an outstanding production.
Aspects of Love
Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point
Performance: Wednesday 28 November 2018 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 6 January 2019
Information and Bookings: www.hayestheatre.com.au
Image: Jonathan Hickey, Grant Smith, Caitlin Berry, Matthew Manahan and Ava Carmont star in Aspects of Love – photo by David Hooley
Review: Rohan Shearn
Note: the author was a guest of Hayes Theatre Co. and Destination NSW