Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Aspects of Love is set in France in 1947. It is here that English student Alex Dillingham, travelling through France before his call up, falls in love with the alluring actress Rose Vibert. After a little persuasion, Rose joins Alex at his uncle's villa. As the pair embark on a passionate affair, the unexpected arrival of Uncle George changes their lives forever. From the cobbled streets of Paris to the mountains of the Pyrenees, Aspects of Love is a heartbreaking love story spanning twenty years. Passion, desire, family ties and friendship bind six people and three generations together as they come to appreciate how love changes everything.
Musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart, based on the novella by David Garnett.
The musical Aspects of London originally opened in the West End at The Prince of Wales Theatre on 17 April 1989 and ran successfully for 1,325 performances, just over three years.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's other London theatre musicals include The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, The Beautiful Game, Whistle Down The Wind, Stephen Ward, Starlight Express, Jesus Christ Superstar, By Jeeves!, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Woman in White, Cats, Sunset Boulevard, Tell Me On A Sunday, and School of Rock.
1989: West End London Premiere - Prince of Wales Theatre
Previewed 7 April 1989, Opened 17 April 1989, Closed 20 June 1992 at the Prince of Wales Theatre
The preview on 7 April 1989 was a Gala in aid of English Heritage and was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
The preview on 10 April 1989 was a Gala in aid of the Family Welfare Association and was attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh
The original cast featured Ann Crumb as 'Rose Vibert', Michael Ball as 'Alex Dillingham', Kevin Colson as 'George Dillingham', Kathleen Rowe McAllen as 'Giulietta Trapani', Paul Bentley as 'Marcel Richard', Diana Morrison as 'Jenny Dillingham, aged 14', and Zoe Hart / Natalie Wright as 'Jenny Dillingham, aged 12', with Carol Duffy, David Greer, David Oakley, Geoffrey Abbott, John Barr, Michael Sadler, Sally Smith, Sandy Strallen, Susie Fenwick, Tim Nilsson-Page, and Trilby Harris.
Directed by Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Gillian Lynne, designs by Maria Bjornson, lighting by Andrew Bridge, and sound by Martin Levan.
The role of 'Rose Vilbert' was played by Ann Crumb from Friday 7 April 1989 to Saturday 25 November 1989 (see note below); Susannah Fellows from Monday 27 November 1989 to Saturday 1 December 1990; Helen Hobson from Monday 3 December 1990 to Saturday 7 December 1991; Sarah Brightman from Monday 9 December 1991 to Saturday 7 March 1992 (see note below); Susannah Fellows from Monday 9 March to Saturday 23 May 1992; and Sarah Brightman from Monday 25 May to Saturday 20 June 1992.
The role of 'Alex Dillingham' was played by Michael Ball from Friday 7 April 1989 to Saturday 20 January 1990; David Greer from Monday 22 January 1990 to Saturday 16 June 1990; David Malek from Monday 18 June 1990 to Saturday 26 January 1991; and Michael Praed from Monday 28 October 1991 to Saturday 20 June 1992.
Roger Moore was originally announced to be playing the role of 'George Dillingham', but left the production amicably after six weeks of rehearsals on Monday 13 March 1989. The singing role was larger than Moore was originally expecting, and the role was taken over by his understudy Kevin Colson who played the role for the first nine months, before Barrie Ingham took over from January 1990 for the remainder of the run.
Ann Crumb injured her foot in an on stage accident at the end of the evening show on Saturday 28 October 1989 and the remainder of the performance was cancelled. The understudy Carol Duffy took over the role of 'Rose' during Crumb's extended absence.
Sarah Brightman's father died from suicide on Sunday 23 February 1992. Sarah missed the performance on Monday 24, and although she returned on Tuesday 25, she left the show shortly afterwards, with the 'Alternative Rose' Clare Burt taking over, and Sarah officially leaving the production on Saturday 7 March.
Interestingly, prior to opening in the West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber said: "Just as she [Sarah Brightman] was perfect for Christine [in Phantom of the Opera], so she'd be wildly unsuitable for Aspects of Love and luckily she was the first to realize that." On Broadway Sarah Brightman played 'Rose Vilbert' to boost audience attendance during the show's final couple of months at the Broadhurst Theatre. Likewise, in the West End, with audiences reported dropping down to fewer than 200 in the 1,00-seater Prince of Wales Theatre, Sarah Brightman played 'Rose Vilbert' for the last weeks of the run. Sarah Brightman is therefore the only leading actor/actress to have performed in the closing cast of the same Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in both London's West End and New York's Broadway.
1993: 1st West End London Revival - Prince of Wales Theatre
Opened 20 December 1993, Closed 15 January 1994 at the Prince of Wales Theatre
The cast featured Kathryn Evans as 'Rose Vibert', Alexander Hanson as 'Alex Dillingham', Gary Bond as 'George Dillingham', Karen Skinns as 'Giulietta Trapani', Paul Bentley as 'Marcel Richard', Lottie Mayor as 'Older Jenny Dillingham', and Helen Viner-Slater as 'Younger Jenny Dillingham', with Alasdair Harvey, Gail-Marie Shapter, Heather Davies, Kate Marsden, Leslie Meadows, Myles Faraday, Natalie Holtom, Nathan Harmer, Neil Rutherford, Nicola Dawn, Nova Skipp, Peter King, and Russell Wilcox.
Directed by Gale Edwards, with choreography by Jo-Ann Robinson, designs by Roger Kirk, lighting by Nigel Levings and Nick Richings, and sound by Richard Ryan.
This was the 'Australian' version of the musical which embarked a major 18-month UK tour in February 1993 at Birmingham Alexandra Theatre, and played in London's West End for a four-week, 30-performance season before continuing on tour.
2010: London Revival - Menier Chocolate Factory
Previewed 7 July 2010, opened 15 July 2010, closed 26 September 2010 at the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre
A major revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Aspects of Love in London directed by Trevor Nunn
The cast featured Katherine Kingsley as 'Rose Vibert', Michael Arden as 'Alex Dillingham', Dave Willetts as 'George Dillingham', Rosalie Craig as 'Giulietta Trapani', Martyn Ellis as 'Marcel', Rebecca Brewer as 'Jenny Dillingham, aged 15', and Ellie Bamber/Grace Morrison/Suzy Oxenham as 'Jenny Dillingham, aged 12', with Chris Andrew Mellon, David Roberts, Dominic Tighe, Ian McLarnon, Jill Armour, Louisa Lydell, Rebecca Trehearn, and Savannah Stevenson.
Directed by Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Lynne Page, designs by David Farley, lighting by Paul Pyant, and sound by Gareth Owen.
"The stand-out hit tune, Love Changes Everything, remains hauntingly beautiful, echoing through the show and down the years. The source material is a 1955 novel by Bloomsbury group member David Garnett, recounting three generations' worth of post-War romantic entanglements after 19-year-old Alex (Michael Arden) falls for older French actress Rose (Katherine Kingsley), before losing her to his Uncle George (Dave Willetts). All three leads are faultless but Arden's pure voice is a thing of particular joy. There is a danger, as the scenes tick by and Rose flip-flops between Alex and George for the umpteenth time, that there is only going to be one aspect of love on offer, and an increasingly overwrought one at that. Gradually, though, the action broadens out with the introduction of George and Rose's daughter Jenny and when it does, I'd recommend you keep a fresh packet of tissues handy... I spent most of the second half in tears, and I'd go back for more in a heartbeat." The London Evening Standard
"The saccharine plot limps along like a Barbara Cartland reject. There are moments when the storyline evaporates into such banality that one wonders how pen was originally put to paper. One of the problems is that the show was written with wall-to-wall songs. It is, unfortunately, Lloyd Webber's habit to seize hold of a melodic line then flog it to death. These imperfections apart - not to mention some of the silliest lyrics ever written - there were some attractive and strong performances by the cast. Katherine Kingsley is formidable. Michael Arden is equally melodic. And Dave Willetts does his level best. It's just sad they all had to deal with such corny material." The Daily Express
"The musical provides plenty of evidence that the heart is unwise, yet this production is strangely unsexy. The arty characters are supposed to be the height of sophistication. But as they while away summer days in a rustic paradise, their endless rounds of champagne, soul-searching and navel-gazing grow a tad wearing. The biggest love affair here is, perhaps, Andrew Lloyd Webber's with the French countryside. Love Changes Everything is the show's hit song but it's the smaller numbers that leave a mark on your heart. Other Pleasures is as warming as the sun that shines on George's villa." The London Metro
Aspects of Love in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre previewed from 7 July 2010, opened on 15 July 2010, and closed on 26 September 2010.