Aspects of Love

Norwich Theatre Royal

Another cracker - with that vital celebrity name to attract the punters - is helping to put the Theatre Royal firmly back on the artistic map after its 10-month closure for a posh refit.

The theatre is looking great and the acoustics appear much better as you could make out every sigh at last night's show which starred veteran performer and real Norwich favourite David Essex in the lead role.

He plays an ageing romeo, George, in Aspects of Love. It's another show from Mr Hits, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, so you can expect the usual big ballads and plenty of sweeping chord changes to stir the soul.

It's not one of his best known shows (think of Cats, Phantom, Evita and Joseph) although it made a star of Michael Ball back in the 1980s. This is its first serious revival in 15 years and very fruity it is, too!

I'm not quite sure that the audience were ready for so much in your face free love activity, well almost, but that's what we got.

The show examines love in all its forms, its different aspects you'd say. Older man and younger woman, younger man and older woman and all things in between! The agony and ecstasy of love, the choices you have to make, rejection, loving two people at once - just an ordinary Jeremy Kyle show in fact!

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The set was stark but effective and the show, whose most famous song is Love Changes Everything, was very professionally staged. Slick, well paced and nobody put a foot wrong.

David Essex only had to let that famous twinkle come to his eye and the audience were his. He did a sound job but I could hardly take my eyes off Matt Rawle, who played Alex, the guy who never quite seemed to get the girl. And Shona Lindsay as Rose, the object of both men's attention, worked hard, too.

It's vintage Lloyd Webber and none the worse for it - even the ending keeps you guessing.

t The show runs until Saturday. Call the box office on 01603 630000 for more.

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