Despite premiering in the West End in 1986, The Phantom Of The Opera
is still one of the most popular musicals in the West End. Deeply embarrassed by his deformed physical appearance, The Phantom lives beneath the Paris Opera House, haunting the owners and those who dare to disobey his demands.
Seeing the show again reminded me of its great simplicity. At the heart of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is a simple and delicate love story. The design was clearly way ahead of its time when the show first opened and still appears magical today. The costumes, particularly during the opera scenes, are bright, bold and utterly transfixing.
A new cast recently joined the production bringing The Phantom Of The Opera a new lease of life. Olivia Brereton and Harriet Jones currently share the role of Christine, originally played by Sarah Brightman. At the performance I saw Jones played the iconic role. The growth in her voice throughout the performance was a joy to listen to, building up to a terrific rendition of ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’.
Fresh from starring as Jean Valjean for three years in the West End production of Les Misérables, Argentina born Gerónimo Rauch recently took over as The Phantom, the role which was famously created by Michael Crawford. Rauch was born to play The Phantom, perfectly portraying the character’s complexity, anger and tenderness. He also performs Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score as if it were written for him. Rauch’s vocal control is exquisite, his faultless rendition of ‘Music Of The Night’ truly cast a spell over the audience.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart’s musical numbers are unforgettable. Most shows feature one or two famous numbers, but The Phantom Of The Opera is packed full of iconic songs which touch different people for different reasons.
When a musical has won 70 major theatre awards, grossed over £3.2 billion worldwide and been seen by over 130 million people you know it is certainly worth seeing. The Phantom Of The Opera is an important piece of theatre. I was sitting alongside people who have seen it time and time again and others who were watching it for the very first time. The Phantom Of The Opera is both funny and bold as well as hauntingly beautiful.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins
Reviewed on Tuesday 26th November 2013.
Phantom Of The Opera is currently booking at Her Majesty’s Theatre until 25th October 2014.