Thursday, February 3, 2011

REVIEW: Love Story (London)

Duchess Theatre (London), Thursday January 27


Now this is a pleasant surprise. I thought that it would be cheesy and corny, melodramatic and manipulative. Well, I think that it could be the best show I have seen in London during this trip. Love Story, a musical with books and lyrics by Stephen Clark and music by Howard Goodall, is based on the movie of the same title by Erich Segal. It starred Emma Williams, Michael Xavier, Peter Polycarpou and others.

Emma Williams, Michael Xavier

The beauty of this musical is that the creators decided to keep the show short and without an interval. The story move along in a constant pace with smart dialogues and songs that do not keep on repeating the same verses or have showstopping key changes. Everything paced rhythmically until the lovers were confronted with the bad news (she's dying of leukemia) and then there was a prolong silence... silence that did not only let the actors dig deep into their feeling, but also let the audience contemplate the situation... then suddenly, the actors turn toward the stage teary-eyed (but not weeping)... and that set almost everybody teary-eyed also... and a few giggling... Yes, giggling. The effect was so unexpected to some members of the audience that they can't believe that they and their companions were crying... and that set off some embarrassed laughters.

Peter Polycarpou

Emma Williams, playing the role of Jenny Cavilleri, has come a long way since I saw her debut in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She was a proud, edgy but grounded Jenny and her singing was faultless. Michael Xavier, playing the husband Oliver Barrett IV, may be a tad weaker vocally, but was extremely effective and believable actor. Peter Polycarpou, as the father Phil Cavilleri, is one of the best musical theatre actors I have ever seen on British stage. He was equally credible in the funny and dramatic moments.

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Love Story
Duchess Theatre, December 6 2010 to February 26 2011

Creative Team:
Stephen Clark (Writer)
Howard Goodall (Composer)
Rachel Kavanaugh (Director)
Peter McKintosh (Designer)
Lizzi Gee (Choreographer)

Cast:
Emma Williams (Jenny Cavilleri)
Michael Xavier (Oliver Barrett IV)
Peter Polycarpou (Phil Cavilleri)
Richard Cordery (Oliver III)
Jan Hartley (Alison)
Gary Milner (Dr. Ackerman)
Julie Stark (Jenny's Mother)
Paul Kemble (Stitching Doctor)

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