Cardinia Performing Arts Company at the Cardinia Cultural Centre.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love is a peek into another time, another place, with similar underlying emotions and insecurities directing human dramas.
The production is a chocolate box selection of life from 1947 – 64, a chronological sampler of diverse perspectives arranged to tease the audience into further consideration of love themes that can only be touched upon in a two and a half hour performance. But, as with the refrains, the characters and their interwoven situations stay with us long after the show ends.
The story is based on the novel, Aspects of Love, by David Garnett. The lyrics were written by Don Black and Charles Hart.
The CPAC production is directed by Lee Geraghty; musical director – Tony Toppi; choreographer – Robert Mulholland; stage manager – Steve Downie; sound design – Frank Scaturchio; sets and backstage stalwart – Ashley Jenkins.
We meet Rose, (Victoria Lock) a young actress who is central to the drama, as she contemplates two weeks of no pay before her next role. Marcel, (Dave Fernee)her manger/director introduces her to Alex,(Nate Illes) her most ardent fan who offers her a way to survive the void, by travelling with him to ‘his’ villa in Pau, near the Pyrenees.
After breaking a window to get into the villa, he confesses that it actually belongs to his artist uncle, George, (Dean Snook) who spends little time there since the death of his beloved wife. George is currently with his lover and fellow artist, Guilietta, (Claire de Freitas) at her studio in Venice. Fate has him return when Rose and Alex are performing a play at the villa. George faints when he sees Rose wearing his wife’s dress.
“Forgive me; you look just like her – my wife,” George says when he has recovered.
Thus begins the polygon of love that has Rose faking a telegram calling her back to the theatre.
Will he ever forgive me?” she asks.
“What can I do?
I’m in love with them both
and I only have one life, not two.”
There are more than the three who have feelings for the unattainable, however: Guilietta has feelings for George (and maybe for Rose to some extent); in the second Act, Hugo (Michael Banks) is involved with Rose, and Jenni (Tamika Ball) is attracted to Alex, who also has feelings for her.
A new aspect is added as George discovers the wonder of a parent’s love and the protective feelings that invokes, despite the double standard involved; and the noble love of a cousin is awakened. “We must not let our bodies rule our lives.” But do they?
Finally a mother’s love is tested as Rose proclaims, “Lonely is not what I’ll be, while there is some life in me . . .”
This show is very thought provoking, but what was on the minds of the audience as they emerged from the theatre was predominantly the magnificent voices of the cast, set against the marvellous music of the orchestra, conducted by musical director, Tony Toppi.
On opening night, one gentleman told me, “It is an honour to be in the audience of this production. Such good voices.”
Many remarked on the professional standard of the show, some stating that this was typical of CPAC performances. When discussing the acting, it appeared to have gone unnoticed – a good indication that it was natural and unobtrusive, as the audience remained ‘in the story’ and caring about what happened to the characters. Indeed, at least one person was moved to tears by the show.
Others analysed the practical aspects of production, describing the effective use of smoke and clever sets to create the feeling of train travel and backdrop projections that gave a sense of being in the mountains.
It was noted that the audience didn’t clap a great deal during the show because the scene changes (39 altogether) moved smoothly from one to the next and the attention of the audience was caught in the flow, wanting to see what would unfold. This is a gripping story.
CPAC’s Aspects of Love has had a short season, but you can still catch the highly recommended show at the Cardinia Cultural Centre on Thurs 1 Sept at 7.00pm or Fri 2nd at 8.00pm. Bookings 0407090354.
How CPAC relates to my arts practice
I have performed in six CPAC productions, beginning with Les Miserables in 2002; mostly in the ensemble. My last role on stage was Mrs. Potts, in Beauty and the Beast.
As my involvement in other Arts genres increased, I found I did not have time to dedicate three days a week to rehearsals, so I worked backstage where the time commitment covered the production from bump-in until bump-out about a month later.
Now my Arts practice involves (among other things) writing; performance poetry; visual arts, including photography; the carols choir; working with children in the Arts, and representation of community artists on Cardinia Shire’s Arts and Culture Reference Group.
I currently continue my links with CPAC by working front of house (as much as time allows) in the role of usher – and also social networking on Facebook.