This light-hearted if somewhat old-fashioned romp through the landscape of love is executed perfectly by the Hayes Theatre ensemble despite the serious limitations of the stage size and the narrative structure of the work.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical explores love in many permutations over a period of 17 years through six characters: Rose, a rising stage star played by Caitlin Berry; Alex, her younger lover, played by Jonathan Hickey; George, Alex’s rich aging uncle, played by Grant Smith; George’s lover Giulietta, played by Stefanie Jones; and Jenny, the daughter of Rose and George, played by Ava Carmont, Charlee Kwintner and Gemma Keighran at different ages.
The orchestra of 10 musicians sits behind a curtain at the back of the stage, accompanying a long list of songs from the opening Love Changes Everything to the closing Anything But Lonely.
If there’s a fault in this production it is certainly not in its execution but lies in the poor dramatic structure, which ignores psychology in the interests of declarative statements from the major characters. Consequently, I often found myself doing a double take as yet another love combination materialises on stage without any warning, such as when Rose and Giulietta kiss passionately, or Alex ends up with Giulietta.
Despite the flaws of the production, the ensemble performed wonderfully, making this a really enjoyable musical evening. And if you’ve never been to the Hayes Theatre at the back of Kings Cross, go have a look. It’s a little gem.
Spoiler alert: some of the combinations of lovers are positively creepy!
Until Dec 30. Hayes Theatre, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point. $79-$89+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.hayestheatre.com.au
Reviewed by Irina Dunn