For a small theatre company with limited resources, tackling the musical version of a big Hollywood hit film might seem not just brave but foolhardy.
But the Brighton Little Theatre didn’t just succeed with Erich Segal’s Love Story. They triumphed. Perhaps it was the reality of live performance, perhaps it was the quality of the staging, the snappiness of the dialogue or the melodic invention of the songs.
It had a great deal to do with Abby Fell as Jennifer, a sparky girl whose quick wits are a necessary astringent in a story always teetering on schmaltz.
Singing actress Fell was captivating, entirely convincing as a young pianist from a warm-hearted Italian family, and “the only kid who thought that scales were cool”. Jack Ambrose excelled as the awkward macho bloke caught unawares by love. He and Fell were a marvellous double act throughout – their kitchen duet over pasta was particularly stirring.
Strong back-up performances included Marc Valentine as Jennifer’s emotional dad and the wondrously stiff-necked Oliver Barrett lll from Neil Sellman.
Musical director Gary Nock produced a tragic, brilliant, miracle.