INTERVIEW: The cast of ASPECTS OF LOVE talk about taking on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical

The cast of ASPECTS OF LOVE talk to Frankly My Dear UK about taking on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic classic

The hotly-anticipated and intimate revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic classic ASPECTS OF LOVE finally opens at Hope Mill Theatre this week with an exciting cast and creative team behind the production.

From Olivier Award nominees and West End regulars to young talent making their professional debuts, a company of 10 will be bringing Lloyd Webber’s much-admired musical to life under the direction of Hope Mill Theatre favourite Jonathan O’Boyle.

Ahead of its opening on 5 July, Lucy Moore of Frankly My Dear UK caught up with the talented Jason Kajdi (Hugo), Minal Patel (Marcel), Julia Nagle (Elizabeth), Eleanor Walsh (Jenny) Rosie Cava-Beale (Penny) and Jack Churms (Jerome) to talk about their roles in the iconic musical.

Frankly My Dear UK (FMD): Tell me about your characters?

Julia: Elizabeth is a housekeeper who works for George and has been with him for a long time, s it’s that type of love really, when an employee is part of the family.
Jason: My character appears in the second act and he’s this young, european intellectual. He’s part of an open relationship and that was really hard to identify with, for me!
Minal: As much as I’d like to embellish him, Marcel is Marcel, really! He’s very clear about what he wants. I think what I love about him is that he portrays the aspect of love that is friendship, he loves Rose but as a friend. In my opinion, friendship is the purest type of love, because in good friendships there are no strings attached.
Eleanor: Jenny is George’s daughter, and we see her from the ages of 12 to 15. What she experiences in the show is first love, and it’s really magical reliving that and finding that youth and joy!
Rosie: Penny is my main ensemble character, and its cool because I got to do a lot of exploring and creating her into what I want her to be, essentially. I also get to do quite a few ensemble and supporting roles, essentially just supporting these very convoluted and complex relationships that we see happening in front of us.
Jack: I’m the same, I play quite a few supporting characters but with Jerome, I’ve sort of found you can do a lot with him. I’ve made him quite youthful and obsessed with his gardening, he loves a lily! His point in the show is that he sends the telegram for the break in and alerts George, so he is very loyal to George. I also play this french crooner so I get to go quite charming and comical there, and also the barkers, where we’ve gone down the cockney, come and buy your flowers kind of feel. So it’s been really creative.

FMD: So you’ve had quite a lot of input on your characters then?

Rosie: Jonathan [O’Boyle, Director] was really inclusive with that, when we started working on it we did it as a cast, and we kind of created our characters together which was a lot of fun. We did this timeline so we could see each point in the story and sort of work out our own personal journeys for each character.
Jack: It was also interesting deciding things that had happened before the show, because obviously no one sees that, and then there’s a twelve year gap in between act one and two so you can see how everyone has changed.

FMD: Do you relate to your characters at all?

Minal: I don’t relate to my character as much as I do some of the others because he doesn’t really have as much of an arc, he’s there to support. It is harder to resonate when there’s not much there already, but I can see bits of him in me. He’s very supportive and a good friend, but for me in terms of the love aspect I relate to other characters a little more.
Eleanor: I wish I was as bold as my character! She’s just so ballsy and really goes with her feelings, and I’m quite different to her. She is a very sweet character and she’s one of the only characters who is honest throughout the story.

FMD: Aspects Of Love is one of the least often produced Andrew Lloyd Webber shows. Why do you think this is?

Julia: I don’t know, because the music’s amazing! I hadn’t actually heard a lot of the songs from the show, so it was all completely new to me going into rehearsals, and I got really excited! I was just like “how are these songs this good, and we haven’t heard them before!” There’s some absolute stonkers in there! I’m sure Andrew Lloyd Webber will be thrilled with that, Nagle says there’s some absolute stonkers in there! Seriously though, I was like “how did I not know that this was so gorgeous!”
Minal: It is weird though because I think a lot of people know the songs, “Love Changes Everything” and “Seeing Is Believing” but they don’t know the show, so i don’t know how the songs have separated themselves from the show. Also I think not many people identify with the characters themselves but what they do identify with is the themes.

FMD: How do you think the show could be applied to an audience in 2018?

Rosie: For me definitely the show is about love in various stages of your life and how you deal with it, and different types of love as well, so I think we all recognise a bit of ourselves in these character whether it’s your first love or your last.
Jason: it does touch a lot of people because it ranges from ages eleven to about late seventies for character range. So these characters are all discovering love and how it resonates at these ages and things like first love and how it leaves its mark and can ultimately change your life. It’s those moments that everyone across a 60 year age gap can see for themselves.

FMD: You’re following in the footsteps of some really fantastic musicals at the Hope Mill, do you find this intimidating?

Rosie: The theatre is so supportive of everybody involved and we are so involved with the producers and the creative team and everything that it just seems too welcoming to be intimidating, and it’s just exciting to be carrying on this really positive legacy that’s being formed. We’re so lucky in that sense to be at the Hope Mill.
Jack: The space that we’re going to be doing it in is perfect for something like this because it’s so intimate and you can’t really escape as and audience member from what’s going on in front of you.

FMD: How did you find translating this into a more intimate setting?

Jason: I can’t imagine it not being in an intimate format! When you have something that’s so focused on relationships and interaction you wonder how it ever could have been a spectacle. This space really allows for emphasis on acting and singing and the real connections with the characters.
Julia: It was all Jonathan and Katy [Lipson, Producer] who came up with it all, we were just the last pieces in that puzzle! To work out how this epic show that had such a huge cast, and do it with only ten people and three in the band, their brains are just off the charts! So inventive and brilliant.
Eleanor: as an actor it’s really freeing as well because you can just be there and allow yourself to be there and be straight in it. Jason Denvir our wonderful set designer has created this set that kind of just bleeds into the action and you feel like everything is one thing there’s no divide. Everyone’s in on it and it’s so close and so intimate. You really can just go through whatever your character is going through, it’s just so freeing!
Minal: It’s a challenge as well, because we have to be so specific about every little thing because the show changes so much, every scene is completely different. It doesn’t have the normal through-line that most shows have.
Jason: I think it just reflects the detail of everything too, cause you can see things that you might not notice were you sat at the back of the Palace Theatre. You can look for how somebody holds something, you can look for how somebody moves, and if you’re sat that close to them you can’t really miss it!

ASPECTS OF LOVE runs at Hope Mill Theatre until 9 August 2018.