Love Story is the sad story, following piano protégée Jenny who gives up her dream of going to study in Paris to stay in New York and support Oliver, the man she falls in love with, so he can become a solicitor. While undergoing fertility tests it is discovered that Jenny has Leukaemia and doesn’t have long to live. The story touches on love, the divide between social classes and how people’s dreams can change in a heart beat when they find something else to live for.
Being one of my favourite shows, I have seen a few different productions of this musical. What surprised me here was the decision to have ‘The Pasta Song’ performed as a picnic between the lovers (with not a string of pasta in sight). This did lose some of the meaning of but was an interesting was to position the song.
Love Story can be a great production if you can find an actress who can play the part of Jenny on a musical level. Her love of playing the piano is such a big part of the story, it is sad when the show doesn’t use an actress who can actually play the instrument live on stage. The intensity of the show can be hugely heightened this way but sadly wasn’t done in this production. However, the live band did a great job with a lovely string section that was used.
David Albury and Victoria Serra are cast well in their roles as Oliver and Jenny. Both loveable with nice smiles that make it easy to see why they fall in love. Neil Stewart gave a great performance as Jenny’s father Phil as well.
I would recommend seeing Love Story to anyone, whether you’ve seen it before or not. It’s hard to do a bad job with this show as it is so beautifully written and Sasha Regan does a good job directing this version with some brave choices.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Love Story plays at the Union Theatre until 25 October as part of the Howard Goodall season.
Photo: Darren Bell