My First Experience Of Phantom Of The Opera
| By Molly Richardson
This iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical recently bagged itself an Olivier Award in the audience voted category, and it’s celebrating its 30th year this year, and it’s no surprise to see why.
(Photo credit: Em Jenkins)
I had seen the Phantom Of The Opera film version a few months ago but despite it’s mixed opinions, I personally really enjoyed it and it made me keen to see it on-stage as I could definitely imagine it being quite a spectacle, in which I wasn’t wrong.
The story of course is about the Phantom, who hides in the depths of the Paris Opera House in a sad existence as he’s shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, but the love he holds for Christine is so strong that even her heart can’t resist…
It tells a dramatic tale of love, lust and power.
While I enjoyed the story, if I hadn’t seen the film, I fear I may not have understood certain elements of the story, such as the parts about the Phantom’s past, even though it’s not key to the story. Though maybe it’s just because I had the film in my head as my only reference, and if I had seen them in reverse I might feel differently.
There’s no denying that the set and costumes are one of the greatest on the West End, with detail in every corner and countless tricks. Including the iconic moments, such as the rise and fall of the chandelier, both of which gave me chills. This show is such a visual treat, if not one of the best, so it’s clear to see why it keeps the audiences coming back and has done for 30 years.
As for the cast, there was no weak link. Ben Forster has recently taken on the role of The Phantom as of February this year, and despite mixed opinions from fans I thought he did a stellar job. Especially when in comparison to the fact I saw him play Buddy the Elf (in Elf) in December, proving his versatility is quite something! However, everyone was of course spot on. The audience really enjoyed the comedy that came from the characters of Monsieur Andre, Monsieur Firmin and Carlotta too which was fun to have that break from the drama.
Personally, the score was something I’m less a fan of but this simply due to the fact that I’m just not as into the songs as I am for other shows. However, I really enjoyed 'Masquerade' (I mean, who doesn’t love an ensemble number that oozes with incredible costumes?), 'The Point Of No Return' and 'The Phantom Of The Opera' (oh, that theme tune! It’s still ringing round my head!), there’s also the other great well-known numbers too like 'Music Of The Night' and 'Angel Of Music', all of which are a treat to hear live at least once. While it may not be my personal favourite score, there’s no doubt that it’s a classic and beloved production. And I do see the appeal, as it’s very traditional and grand. The cast have an incredible vocal range and I commend them for nailing those songs 8 times a week.
Overall, this is one of the grandest shows I’ve seen in and I’m so pleased to have finally experienced the legend of the Phantom in all its glory on stage. If you want to see a dramatic spectacle, Phantom is the place to be!