The beautifully intimate Charing Cross Theatre is the stage for the UK premiere of the late Michael Legrand’s Amour – with the company favourably injecting new fervour into his famous Broadway flop.
Set in 1950s Paris, with the flavour of the film Amélie, Amour tells the story of the shy, hard-working, and lonely Dusoleil’s search for meaning and to get the girl. Through a twist of fate, he suddenly has the ability to walk through walls; helping him to find a new side to himself that he uses to be a “modern day” Robin Hood, as well as attract the attention of the charming Isabelle.
Director, Hannah Chissick, works well with the split stage space: but there are points where due to this, the actors have their back to you, or the set can obstruct your view. Kudos must go to Adrian Gee’s set design and Rob Halliday’s lighting, as these elements attempt to aid in maximising upon Chissick’s cleverness with the staging.
Gary Tushaw makes a fine lead as Dusoleil, but it’s really the supporting cast which are the scene stealers – with Olivier nominated Claire Machin’s turn as Whore and Steven Serlin’s Boss bringing the laughs. There is no weak link, every cast member shines – making the whole production feel more like an ensemble piece.
Anna O’Byrne’s (Isabelle) voice is astonishing, as to be expected given her performances as Christine Daaé in both The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies: however, it’s a shame that the character of Isabelle only really comes into her own in Act II. O’Byrne does breathe life into Isabelle, but the character can feel a bit like she’s purely a catalyst for Dusoleil. Likewise, Dusoleil himself can appear little lacklustre and twee at points, despite Tushaw’s performance.
All this being said, Amour does make you leave the theatre a little warm and fuzzy inside. It may be a flimsy plot, with an unexpected ending; but Jeremy Sam’s witty English adaptation of the lyrics, along with an impressive cast, give Amour an almost irresistible charm. A simply lovely night out.