Review: Dusty, Lowry / Aspects of Love, Hope Mill

2 quickies from a flying visit up north to Manchester to Dusty the Musical at the Lowry and Aspects of Love at the Hope Mill Theatre

“Left alone with just a memory”

Does the world really need another Dusty Springfield musical? I avoided the car crash at the Charing Cross a few years back, and wish I had avoided Son of a Preacher Man last year. But still they come and now we have Dusty the Musical which at least boasts a better pedigree than most, with Jonathan Harvey writing, Maria Friedman directing and Katherine Kingsley starring.

And with that level of quality, particularly from the mega-wattage of Kingsley’s titanic performance, it certainly emerges as the best of the bunch, relatively speaking. It is far from a great show though, its book weighed down with the tension between meticulously researched facts and figures and the greater freedom that comes from invented characters who allow story to flow. If it is to make it into the West End, more tinkering needed and Kingsley locked down.

I’d heard great things about Aspects of Love at the Hope Mill Theatre and as a show that I hadn’t previously seen, it  was an easy one to decide to book. But without that frame of reference (‘it’s so much better than it was before’), all I was left with was a show that I thought was alright. Jonathan O’Boyle’s production has much to commend it – not least terrific leads in Felix Mosse and Kelly Price, but I think I need to see it again to really say whether I liked it or not.

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