Venue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 24 – 28, 2013
Director: Aaron Robuck
Choreographer: Aaron Robuck
Writer: Aaron Robuck
Musical Director: Gavin Lockley
Performers: Aaron Robuck, Leah Simmons, Gary Robuck
Aaron Robuck is an extraordinarily talented young man with big ambitions. The Hardest Part Of Love sees him stretch his abilities to the limit, working as producer, writer, director and choreographer, in addition to being the only lead performer in his show. Robuck has good charisma and timing, and has no problems connecting with his audience. His impressively powerful singing voice comes across as his strongest asset, but it eclipses the other elements in the show that can appear pale by comparison.
The ensemble of back up dancers and singers are accomplished, but they are not always incorporated well. They are effective in the comedy sections, but at other points, their presence is not always necessary and can expose the weakness in Robuck’s choreography. The story is a very personal one, and Robuck’s performance abilities are more than enough for him to put up a great show without too much razzle dazzle. It would be interesting also, if a director was appointed to lend some objectivity and to focus Robuck’s talents to greater effect.
Religion plays a big part of Robuck’s story and it is responsible for a lot of the show’s success. It adds colour and idiosyncrasy, providing unusual insight and gives an interesting voice to an otherwise conventional coming-of-age story. Ultimately, the fundamental joy in this production is Aaron Robuck’s singing, and some editing to the staging would have elevated it to something even more spectacular.