That's Love:

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‘THAT’S LOVE’ was  first presented by the Mill at Sonning Theatre (Sally Hughes, Artistic Director; David Vass, General Manager), on 2nd April 2008. 

The cast was as follows:

Sarah Daniels - RULA LENSKA
Frank Daniels - ALAN ROTHWELL
Young Sarah - MONICA NOWAK
Young Frank - SIMON TURNER

Directed by Ron Aldridge
Set designed by Tony Eden
Costumes designed by Jane Kidd
Lighting designed by Janet A. Cantrill
Choreography by Joseph Pitcher
Assistant Director Neil Webb
Are there rally such things as ‘soul-mates’?  Are certain people destined to be together?  The Frank Daniels Trio were a reasonably successful singing and dancing variety trio in the 1970s.  Frank, his beautiful wife Sarah and comic sidekick Tony – the perfect recipe for an evening’s entertainment – and for an entangled emotional love triangle.
We join the disbanded trio three decades later in a nursing home where Tony is terminally ill. Sarah, who married Frank despite being in love with Tony, has spent much of her life ruing her choices and in a series of flashbacks to the ‘good old days’, we see them as their younger selves performing the song and dance routines amidst the emotional rivalries of the trio.
Over the course of visits to Tony this entertaining, and at times very moving play sees Sarah finally reaching the decision she possibly should have taken years ago.

“Aldridge’s new play is something of a minor masterpiece.”  The Stage






That’s Love
Published Monday 7 April 2008 at 14:30 by Sheila Tracy, The Stage.
A beautifully constructed play that pulls at the heart strings while being highly entertaining. A singing and dancing trio from the sixties meets up again three decades later in a nursing home, where one member, Tony, is terminally ill.
Sarah, who married the leader, Frank, in spite of being in love with Tony, is distraught at the thought that time is running out for them. As memories of their life on stage are invoked, their younger versions appear singing and performing the dance routines, excellently choreographed by Joseph Pitcher.
This is a tour de force for Nicholas Ball as the mature Tony, who is rarely off stage, reliving his memories as portrayed by Jonathan Niton, alongside Monica Nowak as the young Sarah and Simon Turner as the young Frank.
Niton comes into his own in flashbacks of the young Tony as a stand-up comedian, which he handles extremely well, and for Nowak, a recent arrival from Canada, this is an impressive UK debut. Turner shows just a hint of the bitterness that surfaces finally as the last words of the mature Frank are delivered to his dying former colleague by Alan Rothwell.
There is a sensitive performance from Rula Lenska as the mature Sarah, who is heartbroken at what life has done to the trio and who only wants to be close to the love of her life in the short time that is left to them. Billed as a comedy, Ron Aldridge’s new play is something of a minor masterpiece and had this reviewer close to tears at the final curtain. Highly recommended.
Sheila Tracy

‘Plenty to Ponder about Life and Love’
How might fresh-faced, talented, lively young people turn out to be discontented old grumps?
We find out in That’s Love.  This might sound dismal, but in this new play, written and directed by Ron Aldridge, the question is intriguingly, cleverly worked out.
That’s Love, which is having its world premiere at The Mill, has all the wit and fun you expect from the experienced playwright Ron Aldridge.
There’s humour but there’s also a serious undercurrent which sends you home with plenty to ponder about life and love.
It’s very clever.  Our three main characters are getting on in life.  Two of them visit the third in a nursing home, and as they look back over their young days performing as a song-and-dance trio, their young selves appear on stage reliving their memories.

So instead of the play being confined to oldies reminiscing, we get plenty of vibrant and entertaining sessions as the three charming young people perform their routines and relate to each other.
Rula Lenska plays the demanding role of Sarah, the girl in the threesome, splendidly.
Nicholas Ball has the hard job of portraying a complex, angry man who hides his feelings behind jokes, and manages to do so brilliantly while retaining the audience’s sympathy.
Third in the trio is Alan Rothwell as Frank, Sarah’s husband, a man with a past to unfold.
The young trio, Jonathan Niton, Monica Nowak and Simon Turner, form a delightful contrast.
The stage sets e clever too, with cut-out walls showing glimpses of rooms behind.  A set change in the second act, performed with the lights still on, is so creative it got a round of applause in its own right.
A winner then, and a fine addition to Ron Aldridge’s long list writing and directing successes.                           
Sandra Carter

"That's Love"
By Ron Aldridge
Now playing at the Mill at Sonning until 10 May
Two's Company … and a Trio spells disaster… doesn't it?  The Frank Daniel's Trio - Frank (Alan Rothwell) the one with the money on the left, Tony Scott (Nicholas Ball) the clowner on the right, and between them the beautiful Sarah Daniels (Rula Lenska), loved by both, and hot news in the 70s.  They disband when Sarah becomes pregnant, much to Tony's horror as the baby belongs to Frank her husband and must, according to Tony's understanding, therefore be another immaculate miracle!?   They meet up years later when Tony is in a nursing home with a terminal illness.  The tale is told by interweaving the present with the past, with the younger versions of Frank, Tony and Sarah played by Simon Turner, Jonathan Niton and Monica Nowak, being watched by their mature counterparts as they perform the old routines.   It works superbly and moves the story on revealing layer upon layer of the intricacies of the relationships conducted over many years and through many marriages but somehow remaining constant.   Anyone who truly understands the concept of 'Soulmates' will find it both poignant and at times painful.   It is however intermingled with Tony's self-deprecating wit 'everything that doesn't hurt doesn't work' and the humour in his efforts to escape the clutches of the resident 70 year-old nymphet.    It has some genuinely funny scenes where we nod knowingly and acknowledge our own life experiences reflected in what is happening on stage - Tony is going to leave his body to 'science fiction'! Oh how I'm with him on that one!    It drew me in - I wanted to know about the characters, and furthermore I cared what happened to them.   The relationship between them is touching, funny, sad, wistful, humorous and flips your emotions through ever more acute angles as the story progresses.  

At times I felt as though I was the one on the heart monitor - high on laughter one moment and flatlining with sadness the next.   Having spent nearly 40 years as Frank's wife - probably in name only as her heart belonged to Tony (who went for quantity … 4 exes … to compensate for lack of quality), Sarah eventually makes up for the lost years by becoming Tony's 'slightly unlawful wife' in a very funny 'marriage ceremony'.   There is a macabre humour in death and the threat of it which allows us to say what we really think and do what we really feel.  Tony and Frank certainly do not mince their words in the final weeks.   A highly entertaining play - I wonder if Tony ever did get his extra large gravestone for all his exes to boogie on?                The Sonning experience is superb.    Dining in fab surroundings, a very gracious Hostess and Staff, and the promise of a theatrical treat to come. Brilliant!
Reviewed by Debby Taylor and Jeanette Ross for Theatreworld Internet Magazine

By Angie Johnson – Oxford Times
I assumed That's Love, the new production at The Mill at Sonning, would be a frothy piece of rom-com', a pleasant enough way to while away the evening. But, in fact, it turned out to be so much more. It is indeed a delightful blend of romance and comedy but it is also a lively musical and a bitter-sweet tale of love denied and redeemed. All very unexpected and satisfying, thanks to the writer, Ron Aldridge.
It revolves around the star-crossed affections of the Frank Daniels Trio, who comprised husband Frank and wife Sarah, plus one other - the jokey and exciting Tony. The back story is that the trio split (probably because the husband suspected the other two were in love) and went their separate ways. The action moves to the present day, Tony is now terminally ill, though still dashing, prompting Sarah and her grumpy and unwilling husband to see him. This meeting rekindles many old passions, and the realisation that it is never too late to find happiness. We - and they - look back on their younger selves through a series of vignettes beautifully performed by Jonathan Niton (young Tony), Monica Nowak (young Sarah) and Simon Turner (young Frank), which also provide an excellent sequence of song and dance classics.
Nicolas Ball is terrific as Tony. His jokey charisma is very engaging and, in contrast, his more solemn moments are very moving. His young counterpart, Jonathan Niton, matches this perfectly with some great stand-up comedy. Rula Lenska is as elegant and beautiful as you could wish for. Her role as Sarah requires great tenderness and she delivers this perfectly. Alan Rothwell as the bad-tempered Frank is a perfect foil for these two - his performance adds much to the depth of the piece - his hurt is palpable in some scenes.

But ultimately this is a feel-good show - full of pace, music and love - and its resounding message, "It's never too late for love", was one to cheer.