I have so much admiration for anyone putting on a new piece of work. It must be horrible back-stage waiting for the lights to go down and I’m sure last night was no exception for everyone involved in the world premiere of “Seasons of Love” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Well folks, let me reassure you that you can relax as the show was excellent.
Using an impressive combination of songs, instrumental pieces, dance and video projection “Seasons of Love” takes the audience on a journey through the year telling stories of love on its way. In autumn we have a young couple that meet in a nightclub and fall in love only to be separated at the end of the evening, thanks to drunken intervening friends, before exchanging numbers. When we next see them they are both at the same concert where they each have that moment we’ve all faced when you see a face in the crowd that looks so familiar but by the time you look again they are gone. As I was drawn further into their story, I found myself willing them to be on the same bit of stage at the same time and getting exasperated each time they just missed seeing each other (which thanks to some wonderful choreography was quite often) until they finally found one another and rekindled their love – making sure that phone numbers were handed over this time. Autumn really gave a feel for the show and was followed by the darker winter with its tale of lovers parted and after the interval, spring with its joy and hint of the summer to come.
Director/Choreographer Gareth Walker has put together a highly impressive show where everything aspect works so well with the music. There is a truly fantastic combination of dance styles on offer, from the frenetic youngsters at the club in Autumn, through to the balletic movements in spring, the dancing is at times fast and highly complicated and others slow, sensual and mesmerising. All of the music from songwriter Mark Leddy is wonderful and the beautifully delivered songs have lyrics are poignant and enthralling. At times, I found myself humming along with various songs – particularly the final one before the interval.
I loved the fact that for each of the seasons, there was a different combination of male/female dancer paired with a male/female singer (including Claire Richards, Mark Reid and Chesney Hawkes). In fact, I really hope there is a soundtrack album out very soon as I would love to hear some of these songs and musical pieces once more. Having the band on the stage worked really well to create a seamless show and the video projection was a perfect addition to the story as we saw a huge tree going through the seasons at the same time as the performers. The choreography was sublime and the costumes worked well within each of the stories. In fact even the absence of costume – there was a bit of bare flesh on show – really enhanced the story being played out. All of the pairings worked so well, in fact the two dancers in spring actually looked as if they might be in love throughout their story.
I’m going to summarise my feelings for this show with a quote from Sir Walter Scott ‘In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed; In war, he mounts the warrior’s steed; In halls, in gay attire is seen; In hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, and men below, and saints above; For Love is heaven, and heaven is Love.’ A bit long winded perhaps but I think that with “Seasons of Love” I got a little taste of that heaven last night.
Review by Terry Eastham
With its world premiere in the West End for one night only at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Sunday 1st March, 2015, Seasons of Love is a joyful, spectacular music and dance production poignantly portraying three love stories over the four seasons of the year and different stages of life.
Present day Ireland’s beautiful scenery is the backdrop to this modern artistic interpretation of love through the seasons. Seasons of Love is an exhilarating blend of original music and songs, thrilling choreography, spectacular video projections, body mapping and hi tech visuals as it celebrates the breathless thrill of youthful encounters, the heartrending sorrow of separation, mature love lost and rekindled, and the blissful exuberance of an Irish wedding.
Seasons of Love is a show that will touch your heart and inspire your soul – whatever your age.
Monday 2nd March 2015