Aspects of Love delights audience

ASPECTS is not Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest musical - it lacks the drama and occasion of Phantom or the theatrical delights of Evita.

ASPECTS OF LOVE at the Ipswich Regent until Saturday.

ASPECTS is not Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest musical - it lacks the drama and occasion of Phantom or the theatrical delights of Evita.

But it is a much more intimate show, one that involves the audience . . . one that can be taken out of the West End without losing its soul.

The musical is based on a book by David Garnett, a member of the Bohemian Bloomsbury Group - and captures a world that is alien to most people that manages to be both disturbing and idyllic.

Clearly Garnett was writing about the kind of people having the kind of relationships he was familiar with - his life story was racier than a Jackie Collins novel.

But the idea of a 17-year-old schoolboy running off with a French actress only to lose her to his elderly uncle and then end up having a decidedly dodgy relationship with their 15-year-old daughter is a long way outside the experience of most people.

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The triumph of this production was that you ended up liking most of the characters, even if you might look down on some of their behaviour if you invited them for tea.

Tim Rogers is a fine Alex who transforms from a precocious teenager to a worldly-wise 30 something during the production. The role was first created by Michael Ball in the late 1980s - but Rogers brings a completely different dimension to it.

His Alex was more in tune with today's concerns about relationships with 15-year-old girls!

James Graeme as the ageing uncle with a twinkle in his eye was great as he managed to keep both Rose (Shona Lindsay) and Giulietta (Poppy Tierney) dancing to his tune.

The songs in the show are not as strong or as memorable as in some of Lloyd Webber's other shows - but Love Changes Everything has become a standard and The First Man You Remember remains a personal favourite of mine.

Bringing a touring show to a theatre with a small stage like the Regent does bring its own challenges, but the scenery and set designers had worked to brink a slick production to town.

The near-capacity audience clearly loved Aspects - which gave hundreds of people a real ray of sunshine in these troubled times.

Paul Geater.

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