The London Theatre Workshop is seamlessly merged with a the very characterful Eel Brook Public House. The ambience is such, that it feels natural to have a drink and a meal, then pop upstairs to have the newest and freshest of fringe theatre presented to you. Love Is Eternal is both new and fresh; with an exciting combination of talents weaving together every possible aspect of love with their harmonious ‘Thread of Gold’ connecting them to form a singular musical entity.
The performance is brief, but in the hour that we share, we are taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions, through tears of joy and sadness; through laughter, contemplation and reflection. The ensemble complement each other vocally and are matched with songs that suit both voice and personality – individually, and in different combinations. These four singers take us on the journey that has been so brilliantly written for them. The partnership of Graham Sobelman’s musical direction and David Kent’s lyrics is uncommon; a contemporary mellifluous soundtrack joined with an alternative poetic narration on the many ways that love can manifest.
Our journey begins with unrequited, unrecognised, forgotten love on a transatlantic flight and continues to tackle everything from polygamy, sexuality, teenage crushes and primal ‘cave man’ love (Ooga Booga Wooga). No story is left unexplored, vampires with a permanent seven year itch being together eternally, losing a loved one, dementia, the conventionality of unconventional parental love. All thoughtfully and appropriately performed for each subject matter.
The performances themselves are without a weak link. Skilful in their abilities to take us through these short musical stories with only their voices, diction and presence; without prop or back drop. Rebecca Ridout’s rendition of ‘Dealing with it all’, an account of how, or how not she is dealing with her life’s problems is moving and perfect; Rebecca could sing a shopping list, give it life and make it sound emotional. Other highlights include Rob McNeilly, a gentle but powerful voice, with expression and feeling that fills a room, and Kitty Murdoch and Sandy Grigelis perfecting the range from the cheeky, comical elements to the touching poignant moments.
Love is Eternal is a refreshing, exciting, modern perception of the many different awarenesses of having that feeling called love. A perfect fusion of today’s finest Anglo/American talents creating a quirky, thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining song cycle.
Review by Rachel Borland
Love is Eternal: A Song Cycle
LOVE IS ETERNAL is a collection of songs set throughout time. From the happiest day of your life to fleeting bitter memories and from vampire lovers to drag queens, everyone has their own experiences with love. These contemporary art songs traverse the many worlds of love and loss and explore the parallels across these stories.
Stylistically, this collection could be considered a pop-music cousin to works by Ricky Ian Gordon or Adam Guettel. Written for two men and two women, it currently has orchestration of piano and cello (expansion into a 4-5 piece band is expected). Lush harmonies and quirky lyrics conceal the underlying complicated rhythms and musical intricacies.
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Sunday 7th September 2014