Love Actually Live Review – A Multimedia Special

Rex Smith (center) with cast in LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE - Photo by Kevin Parry

Presented by special arrangement with Universal Theatrical Group, LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE  transcends the Bram Goldsmith Theater’s boundaries into a fluid flutter of sound and sight which will charm its holiday audiences. Based on the British 2003 film “Love Actually,” LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE weaves stories of love into a sentimental journey through the Christmas season. With musical supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Jesse Vargas – adapted and directed by Anderson Davis – LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE becomes a lush tale of the myriad faces of affection which spring from family, friends, and lovers.

Ruby Lewis and Rogelio Douglas, Jr. – Photo by Kevin Parry

Suitably humorous, poignant, or even tragic, the huge cast recounts the cinematic stories of Billy Mack (Rex Smith) and his erstwhile, largely ignored manager Joe; Juliet (Ruby Lewis), new hubby Peter (Rogelio Douglas, Jr.), and lovelorn best man Mark (James Byous); Jamie (Declan Bennett) and Aurelia (Gabriela Carrillo), two people who share attraction but not words; Harry (Doug Kreeger), Karen (Tomasina Abate), and sensual secretary Mia (Ruby Lewis); newly-elected Prime Minister David (John Battagliese) and household staff member Natalie (Carrie Manolakos); recent widower Daniel (Jon Robert Hall) and his young stepson Sam (Levi Smith), love struck with perky Joanna (Nayah Damasen); the triangle of Sarah (Aubrie Sellers), the love of her life Karl, and her mentally ill brother Michael; loser Colin and his American conquests; and John and Judy (Molly Rogers) two porn stars who have a lot to talk about. Obviously, LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE has an abundance of ground to cover.

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE cast – Photo by Kevin Parry

Shifting between film shots and the real article – often singing their heart out – LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE brings cinema right into the audience’s laps. Kudos to Matthew Steinbrenner’s scenic design, Aaron Rhyne’s video design, Michael Berger’s lighting, and Benjamin Soldate’s sound – all combine to create an unforgettable mélange of light and color. Steve Mazurek’s costumes, Cassie Russek’s hair and wigs, and Sumie Maeda’s choreography give the talented cast the cheery holiday boost called for in this holiday extravaganza.

Ruby Lewis and Rogelio Douglas, Jr. – Photo by Kevin Parry

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE is a feast for every sense. The strong cast and talented production crew do an excellent job of conveying the Christmas message of love, loss, and everything in between. However, all the plot details play second fiddle to the remarkably overwhelming spectacle presented on – and sometimes off – the Wallis stage. Hang on to your seats as LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE takes you on a fantastic holiday trip.

Carrie Manolakos – Photo by Kevin Parry

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE runs through December 29, 2019, with performances at 7:30 p.m. weekdays, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays (except 12/24-25 and 12/27). The Bram Goldsmith Theater is at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Tickets range from $39 to $125. For information and reservations, call 310-746-4000 or go online.

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