Michel Legrand’s quirky but charming musical makes a vivid impression in this UK professional premiere.
Based on the 1943 short story Le Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé, Michel Legrand’s musical is surprisingly enjoyable to watch unfold – despite the thinness of plot. It has a gorgeous variety of music that matches up well with oddness of the plot to create a musical that is surprisingly charming and endearing.
Amour follows the story of Dusoleil, a civil servant who lives his life quietly but he is also secretly in love with the unhappily married Isabelle. One day he discovers he has gained a magic power that allows him to walk through walls and to help those in need as well as giving him a chance to woo Isabelle.
Directed with great flair and imagination by Hannah Chissick, this production is lively and engaging – perfectly designed to fit the Charing Cross Theatre, surrounding the audience with its playfulness as well as its ability to come across as endearing. There is great energy throughout that sweeps the audience effectively into Dusoleil’s story.
Meanwhile, the simplicity and creativeness of the staging (complete with the gorgeous and atmospheric set design by Adrian Gee), allows the beauty of Michel Legrand’s music and the wittiness of the English lyrics (translated by Jeremy Sams) to take centre stage. It is a suitably complex score that reflects the tenderness and the quirkiness of the story fully and is an utter pleasure to listen to from start to finish.
Much of the joy to be found in this production is from the visual element, the creative use of props such as chairs and luggage for example is wonderful to see, while Matt Cole’s lively choreography makes great use of the space – particularly during the comedy numbers. Everything has been slickly choreographed to great effect.
It is a shame that the flimsiness of the plot lets the musical down slightly as there are some lovely performances to be enjoyed. In particular, Anna O’Byrne’s performance as Isabella is sweet and instantly likeable giving a real sense of how trapped and lonely she is, with plenty of opportunities to highlight her gorgeous vocals, while Gary Tushaw as Dusoleil is wonderfully endearing – particularly when everything goes wrong and he finds himself in trouble. Elsewhere, Claire Machin’s hilarious performance as Whore is a real treat, while Alasdair Harvey as Isabella’s husband known as Prosecutor is suitably villainous. It is just a shame the plot doesn’t allow more interaction and exploration of the relationships involved to give additional depth to the story.
However, despite this Amour is charming, funny and lively musical that is completely irresistible from start to finish.
By Emma Clarendon
Amour will play at the Charing Cross Theatre until the 20th July. To book tickets click here or visit: Last Minute.com, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Love Theatre.com, Encore Tickets, See Tickets and From the Box Office.