“What can you say about a girl who seemed to run before she walked”
New musicals are sometimes difficult things, audiences don’t always respond straightaway and in the cut-throat world of the West End, there’s little tolerance for something that isn’t an instant hit. Though it was amazingly well received in Chichester, Howard Goodall’s Love Story suffered such a fate in its brief run at the Duchess late last year. There’s not much more to be said about this much-missed show whose run in London was sadly curtailed than to say how grateful I am that they were able to make a cast recording as it really was one of those scores with which I fell in love straight away. My reviews of the show can be read here and here, I probably would have gone again had it continued to run.
Howard Goodall’s luxurious string and piano music stretches elegantly over the story, little riffs and motifs repeating so that a sense of familiarity is gained with just one listen. Emma Williams is just perfect as the strident Jenny, fiercely independent but unable to resist the entirely charismatic Michael Xavier as Oliver, and together they make such sweet music.
As a pretty much sung-through score, it is hard to separate out songs as it all glides together beautifully, many pieces merging seamlessly into one another: the quirky duet ‘Pasta’ and the stunning elegiac ‘Nocturnes’ being notable exceptions. But at a trim 45 minutes it doesn’t really matter and so it makes for a fabulous listening experience, especially on a London commute where you can get through the whole show in a journey! The cast all sound gorgeous together, Goodall’s harmonies are just exquisite, and it makes for a fitting tribute to a show that ought to still be running.
If you can only download one song, make it… ‘Pasta’