Charing Cross Theatre, London
Reviewed by Jade Prince
Seen May 8th, 2019
Did I ‘amour’ this show?
Amour I did not but that’s not to say I hated it. In fact, I’m on the fence about it, or should I say, in the wall. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!
‘Amour’ takes place in the 1950s in Paris. I mean, with that title, it couldn’t really take place anywhere else?
The story focuses on Dusoleil (Gary Tushaw) who appears very comfortable in life. Comfortable. Nothing out of the ordinary. Working as a civil servant, passing the time writing letters to his mother when his mind isn’t wandering and daydreaming about Isabelle (Anna O’Byrne). All of this changes one night when he discovers he possesses the ability to walk through walls. This new ability provides him with the courage of not only helping the less fortunate but to win the heart and save Isabelle from her controlling marriage.
There was something about this show which had me feeling pretty, ‘meh’. Although reflecting on each individual component, I’m struggling to but my finger on what this show was lacking.
Individually, the artist direction for many features was beautiful and whimsical however collectively, the spark didn’t ignite.
The traverse stage set up was a unique decision (although this was probably swayed by the previous show that played at Charing Cross Theatre). I personally don’t think it lent itself well to the story. It definitely restricted what we saw on stage. If the stage/venue had been bigger, I think the traverse stage would have been wonderful. Direction-wise, it was clear that time and thought had been put into the actor’s movement. Each side of the audience was catered for and at no point did I feel like I was watching the show from backstage.
The cast were incredible! Vocally outstanding and it was a joy to listen to all of those harmonise! It was beautiful when the score built and each character was singing there own verses over each other.
I have to say I was very surprised that it wasn’t Jonathan Lipman doing the costume design for this show. The costumes were very similar to his style. It looked like the costumes were pulled from previous shows at Charing Cross Theatre where Lipman had overseen the costumes. I understand why the Monochrome theme was selected, to be in keeping with the Parisian love story. I just really wish a different spin had been put on it. It was disappointing as its been seen in so many other shows.
Lyrically the show was very cleaver. It was sung from start to finish so it is important you pay attention. Occasionally I found it really difficult to follow as the lyrics are sung very quickly. A lot of the jokes come at those points and I found myself sat there in a sea of chuckles having completely missed the joke myself. There was the occasional play on words which made them sound rude until the whole thing came out. I really appreciated that especially with one of the riskier words!
-Now this is something I don’t normally say-
If the opportunity comes around and I get to see the show again before it closes, I definitely will. I didn’t hate it but at the same time, going in ‘blind’ and not knowing anything about the show hindered my experience. I do think a second watch will highlight a lot of things I initially missed and bring a new appreciation to the show.
All in all, it was a very charming piece and lives up to the main promo quote provided by NY Times, ‘a bedtime story for grown ups’. Nothing too over stimulating although enjoyable at the same time.
‘Amour’ is playing at Charing Cross Theatre until July 20th, 2019.
More information on the show and tickets can be found here.