Love Story - Reviews

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Love Story - Reviews#2
Posted: 12/7/10 at 12:27pm
Really surprised at the negative reviews, I thought this would get across the board great reviews after reading all of the online comments.

By the way, I HATE it when reviews give away major plot points for seemingly no reason. I'm seeing the show tomorrow knowing nothing about it and then the Whatsonstage review comes out with that in the first paragraph. Not impressed. Still looking forward to the show mind.
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Love Story - Reviews#3
Posted: 12/7/10 at 1:11pm
Typical Whatsonstage, right? xD
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Love Story - Reviews#4
Posted: 12/7/10 at 2:15pm
Exactly how I felt when I read the 'whatsonstage' review, at least when I did a review I tried and not mentioned what happened in the show.
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Love Story - Reviews#5
Posted: 12/7/10 at 4:21pm
The 'lets pad out the review by mentioning the plot in detail' is just lazy journalism, often used by naff reviewers. However, having said that the 'Love Story' was a hugely successful film and book and so the story is known to many already!!
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Love Story - Reviews#6
Posted: 12/7/10 at 6:57pm
Hitchings has it spot on in my book. The score's lovely but insanely repetitive and there's no real emotional impact.
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Love Story - Reviews#7
Posted: 12/8/10 at 6:11am
Best one I've seen so far was Edward Seckerson in The Independent:

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/12/07/where-do-i-begin/

Sums up:

"Love Story works because itís honest and subtle and always avoids grandstanding the sentimentality. Itís an unlikely success that I know will repay familiarity. Indeed it could well be the surprise sleeper that the West End needs right now Ė a small show with a really big heart."

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Love Story - Reviews#8
Posted: 12/8/10 at 7:05am
That idiot from the Daily mail loves ruining peoples night at the theatre, he should stick to writing about politics! (mind he aint even good at that!)
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Love Story - Reviews#9
Posted: 12/8/10 at 7:16am

Variety ***

'Love Story'
(Duchess Theater, London;476 seats; £55 $86.45 top)

by David Benedict

A Michael Ball, Adam Spiegel and Stephen Waley-Cohen presentation of a musical in one act, music and additional lyrics by Howard Goodall; book and lyrics by Stephen Clark. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh. Musical direction, Stephen Ridley.

Jenny Cavalleri - Emma Williams
Oliver Barrett IV - Michael Xavier
Phil Cavalleri - Peter Polycarpou
Oliver Barrett III - Richard Cordery

Given the tear-jerking combination of love and death in Erich Segal's famous "Love Story," the easy route for this tuner revamp would have been to ramp up passion with high emoting and a sob-inducing orchestral sweep. But Howard Goodall and Stephen Clark's new tuner turns out to be a model of restraint. Both the material and Rachel Kavanaugh's skilled production are as tasteful as the elegantly dressed band of piano, guitar, double-bass and string quartet who are onstage throughout. Sadly, however, it proves possible to drown in good taste.

The best news is that the commercial urge merely to put the movie onstage has been resisted. Locations are shifted and scenes deftly sharpened for this stage translation of the tale of preppy lawyer Oliver Barrett IV and working-class muso Jenny Cavalleri. Better yet, Francis Lai's theme, shamelessly overused in the movie, makes just one appearance, transformed into a sub-Bach prelude at the recital that Jenny gives.

Retaining the film's flashback structure, the show opens at Jenny's funeral on Peter McKintosh's single white-room set with the plaintive and beautifully sung "What can you say about a girl?" a number handed around the black-dressed cast in solos and a trio, who fill the audience in on Jenny's character.

The welcome surprise here is that Jenny (sweetly voiced Emma Williams) joins in, neatly signaling the production's ability to remain true to the original without doggedly sticking to its letter. This also suggests that the addition of music will strengthen the material.

Yet, although Goodall's chamber-sized score is neatly threaded in and out of Stephen Clark's book scenes, it feels more illustrative than dynamic. Structurally, Goodall's scrupulously well-harmonized phrases wind up feeling on a par with the repetitive, downward cycles of phrasing of Michel Legrand's music. The tone feels gently reflective and woebegone almost throughout, and the colors it adds are distinctly pastel where something more primary might add much-needed punch.

The exception is a Rossini-like comic patter song about the pasta that new wife Jenny ceaselessly cooks. Rhyming tagliatelli, vermicelli and every other shape imaginable, the number smartly telescopes time showing her years at home as Oliver goes through law school. And there's further sensory pleasure, too, as Kavanaugh has Williams gleefully cooking on a real stove.

Elsewhere, too many of the lyrics feel distinctly contrived. When Jenny sings of her hoped-for children, "I will play my kids nocturnes/ If they feel they're alone/ I will soothe them with Schumann/ And some Nina Simone," it's the rhyme rather than the meaning that is uppermost. In the same song, Jenny completes a line with the word "not" in order to end with "I know they'll love Joplin/ Both Janis and Scott."

Easeful, suitably handsome Michael Xavier is perhaps not ideal casting as a hockey-jock, but he's perfectly convincing as a suited young lawyer. Yet even he cannot flesh out priggish, one-dimensional Oliver, who exists solely to fall in love, hate his father and then be sad. Jenny's character fares a little better, because singing fills out her feistiness and she gets to be noble in death.

The father/son dilemma remains as conveniently underwritten as before, presumably because if you open it up to examination, the final payoff collapses. More problematically still, the supremely tasteful script and production present Oliver and Jenny's relationship as so extraordinarily tidy and neat as to feel airbrushed. They bicker and flirt, then sing of their love and clasp each other appropriately, but even in (perfectly pressed) underwear, they generate zero sexual tension.

The crucial elements missing are telling detail and the messiness of relationships, not least in death. Yet the tear-stained faces at the end of the press matinee suggest that the combination of abiding sentimentality, economic scale and, of course, a world-famous title should ensure a future for the show in regional and amateur companies. But only those already immensely well-disposed toward the material are likely to fall for its manicured charms.

Sets and costumes, Peter McKintosh; lighting, Howard Harrison; sound, Matt McKenzie; musical staging, Lizzi Gee; production stage manager, Dan Watkins. Reviewed, Dec. 4, 2010. Opened, Dec. 6. Running time: 1 HOUR, 45 MIN.

With Lillie Flynn, Jan Hartley, Paul Kemble, Christopher Killik, Gary Milner, Jamie Muscato, Julie Stark, Rebecca Trehearn.


Updated On: 12/8/10 at 07:16 AM
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Love Story - Reviews#10
Posted: 12/8/10 at 10:39am
I am surprised the critics have been so harsh with this show.
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Love Story - Reviews#11
Posted: 12/8/10 at 11:10am
Why? It's not particularly impressive in any way.
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Love Story - Reviews#12
Posted: 12/8/10 at 11:16am
lol
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Love Story - Reviews#13
Posted: 12/8/10 at 1:06pm
I thought the show was excellent.
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Love Story - Reviews#14
Posted: 12/8/10 at 3:18pm
I saw this this afternoon and Im really surprised by the reviews, especially as it got such strong reviews (by much of the national press) in Chichester.

I thought it was the best new musical I have seen in several years. Its simple, understated, not showy, not cheesy or corny, it just tells the story beautifully. Emma Williams and Michael Xavier give two very very strong performances, his makes him real leading man material and Emma Williams gives her best acting performance yet (singing, as always with her, is sublime).

Ive never seen the movie but knew the gist of story and what happened, but I absolutely loved this show.

Oh and the pasta cooking scene I thought was genius.

I really couldnt recommend this highly enough
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Love Story - Reviews#15
Posted: 12/8/10 at 5:31pm
I think i will check this out, love the movie
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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Love Story - Reviews#16
Posted: 12/8/10 at 6:11pm
In one word - Beautiful!

The score is really great, lots of wonderful melodies. The show flows just wonderfully between song and dialogue. Can't wait for the recording! The performances are all very strong, particularly the two leads, very well played. Don't read into the negative reviews for this from the press, any fan of musical theatre should be able to see this show and really enjoy it.

The pasta song is GENIUS!

Will definitely be back to see this. Audience numbers looked very good for a Wednesday Matinee.
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Love Story - Reviews#17
Posted: 12/8/10 at 6:34pm
I don't get why the critics suddenly dislike it when it was so well received in Chichester.

I for one loved it. Small-scale, unpretentious, not without flaws, but with an absolutely committed and dedicated cast, and I frickin' LOVED the musicians.

The pasta smelled really good too, dammit...
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Love Story - Reviews#18
Posted: 12/9/10 at 4:36am
"I don't get why the critics suddenly dislike it when it was so well received in Chichester.

I for one loved it. Small-scale, unpretentious, not without flaws, but with an absolutely committed and dedicated cast, and I frickin' LOVED the musicians. "


I think it's a question of expectations. In a setting like Chichester or on the fringe, this would've been far more well received - it's totally the right kind of show for the Gatehouse or a Menier original or the Curve in Leicester or even Trafalgar 1, which has a fringey feel in the West End. But is it really something that deserves £50 for a top price ticket? I'm not convinced.

And the pasta did smell damn good - that whole scene was the best part of the show.
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Love Story - Reviews#19
Posted: 12/9/10 at 4:52am
exedore, Remember The Duchess is still one of London's theatres and i thought the show sat in there beautifully, a lot better than that awful show I saw there earlier this year 'fantastiks'.

I get it that you saw the show at Chichester and it was very good and you are dissapointed with the london transfer.
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Love Story - Reviews#20
Posted: 12/9/10 at 6:18am
I didn't see the show in Chichester at all. Didn't seen Fantastiks either.
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Love Story - Reviews#21
Posted: 12/9/10 at 6:38am
Surprised you didn't love the show, I hadn't seen the film so the story was new, which is always great.

There are 4 on here (Weez, Mark, Princeton and myself) who have raved over this show, who are all theatre aficionadosí and then you have the press saying the show is average, but also claim to be theatre aficionadosí.
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Love Story - Reviews#22
Posted: 12/9/10 at 7:13am
Well, it happens. There are a couple of reviews there that I normally trust, especially the Arts Desk. I haven't seen it yet, but it seems to me that the consensus is that it's an average show in the sense that it does appeal to the audience and is pleasant and likeable but isn't something of extraordinary depth and risk and that the performances are good but not outstanding or the kind of "How do they do that eight times a week" ones. I could be completely mistaken, but that's what I get from everything I've read, even some audience comments. Not saying it's bad at all, but just that it isn't specifically stunning or haunting.
I really didn't like the film because it seemed to be too harmless and relied too much on the obvious emotional impact of Jenny's fate. I will see this show, considering everyone seems to like it, but I was looking forward to it a lot more before reading comments that, a couple of decades earlier, could just be referring to the film, too.
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Love Story - Reviews#23
Posted: 12/9/10 at 8:35am
Critics are simply individuals with opinions, just like anyone else - and opinions are bound to differ according to individual tastes in music, tastes in dramatic content, etc. There are always differences in opinion between those of us on the board who consider ourselves theatre afficionados lol - for example, POL, you hated The Fantasticks and I absolutely adored it. Also there are many board contributors who give rapturous rave comments about Love Never Dies, while most critics did not care for it - and I thought it was the most dire tripe I've ever seen in my life lol. So opinions on Love story are bound to be just as diverse.

I will be seeing it next Wednesday - I may love it, I may loathe it (as I loathed the movie) or I may fall somewhere in between. Wherever I come to stand on it, it will be just another opinion. I'll post my views when I've seen it.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Love Story - Reviews#24
Posted: 12/9/10 at 5:57pm
Oh jeez, just 'cos I like theatre doesn't mean you should take my opinions seriously. XD I did love this show though. The story's nothing new, the characterisation is unsurprising, and there's no glamour and glitz. It's just a sweet little chamber musical with a lot of love put into it that's doing damn well to have made it as far as the West End. Let's just see how it goes. I fear it will never make a million, but I hope it does okay anyway. It ain't flawless, but if you're willing to accept it for what it is (and don't fear sentimentality, but then, why would you go see a musical if you feared sentimentality? XD), then there's plenty to love about it. :)