Apollo Theater Presents LOVE ACTUALLY? Review— Poking Fun of a Holiday Favorite

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There’s nothing quite like seeing beautifully wrapped presents stacked under the Christmas tree to create a picturesque tableau. Here as we enter the Apollo Theater, we glance from the lobby into the doorway of the theater and see the back wall shimmering in silver. As we venture further in, we see the entire back wall is covered to look like shiny gift wrap. To tie it all together (pun fully intended), a huge red ribbon and bow come together to put us in the mood for some holiday cheer. We’ve taken our seats and are ready for some laughs with the parody musical, Love Actually? 

Apollo Theater LOVE ACTUALLY?
(L – R) Jake Elkins and Amanda Walker

Apollo Theater Hosts This Unauthorized Parody

When we watch our favorite feel-good holiday movies, what more could you ask for than a movie all about different kinds of love with the original Love, Actually movie. Getting us into this same spirit, our actors walk on stage wrapped in warm coats and pom-pom hats grinning widely as they sing the opening number. It feels reminiscent of the movie as they hug each other and sing about how love can be all around.

Apollo Theater LOVE ACTUALLY?
(L – R) Dan Plehal and Ann Delaney

And then comes the moment we’re here for. This opening number begs the question, are all these stories and relationships in this movie actually love?

The Prime Minister of Rom-Coms

What makes the movie so infamous is the star-studded English cast. Of course, what would this parody be without acknowledging these A-list actors. Starting us off is Dan Plehal playing England’s best romantic export, Hugh Grant. He smiles exactly like you’d expect a politician would as he plays the prime minister and shares a scone cheekily with his assistant/love interest.


Is that Alan Rickman or Severus Snape? Christopher Wayland has the audience doubled over laughing as Professor Snape enters, in lieu of Rickman’s movie character, wearing his black, flowing, potions professor robes and speaking in his monotone voice.

Amanda Walker graces the stage with her presence as Keira Knightley, grinning with her signature Keira smile. As she watches the video of her wedding, three other Keira’s ballet-step onto the stage and dance behind her. After all, it’s all about Keira.

And not to mention, Ann Delaney gives Emma Thompson an ending she deserves (no spoilers here) with a riveting 11 o’clock number.

Brush Up on Those Inside Jokes

In addition to their celebrity impressions, this cast has also taken questionable moments from the film and hyperbolized them to have us question what love actually is. There’s plenty of slapstick comedy, quippy jokes, and callbacks to the original film. This reviewer recommends brushing up on the film before the show to make sure you’re in on some of the more subtle references.

Love Actually? is a good fit for anyone who doesn’t mind making fun of the original movie and wants a good night of laughs out at the theater.


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Through January 2, 2022


Apollo Theater
2540 N Lincoln Ave.



To buy tickets for Love Actually? visit the Apollo Theatre website.

Photos by Timothy M. Schmidt.

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago.

Alexis Bugajski

About the Author: Alexis Bugajski

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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