MUSICAL REVIEW: The Phantom of The Opera ★★★★★
The Phantom of The Opera
Her Majesty’s Theatre, London
Saturday 14th February 2015
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of The Opera has now been running for 29 years, and I finally had the chance to watch this production on a recent trip to London for the weekend, and I cannot believe that I had never thought of the idea before. The Dramatic and Effective first scene of the production, which really introduced the setting in perfect lighting and staging, suddenly took on a whole new level as the chandelier that was once shattered by the Phantom, and only recently restored, rose from the stage, out into the audience, which also left my jaw drop to the floor. I had never seen anything that ambitious and impressive before in any production, with the only thing coming close being the dragon from Shrek enter the stage from the back of the auditorium.
The scene changes were extremely clever and slick, which made it all run smoothly, and this was all thanks especially to the use of curtains, which helped roll a dressing room onto the stage at certain parts in the show. What was extremely clever though came afterwards, as when the phantom appeared in the mirror and took Christina away, what soon occurred was the second incident to my jaw dropping, as candles rose from the stage, a boat was operated throughout the scene in the mist, and a cleverly bit of trickery with multiple actors helped show Phantom and Christine move straight from the mirror, to a bridge that was shown upstage, suspended in the air.
The star of the show though, was the electrifying, hair raising, powerful music, and the extremely detailed set designs. Used from the very beginning, to the very end, each piece of music was just filled with the most wonderful, detailed score, and especially towards the main song, ‘Phantom of The Opera’, just the opening few bars shot the hairs on the back of my neck up, and this also goes for ‘Masquerade/ Why So Silent’. The singing also really helped with this, as the actors were extremely talented and really took us on this incredible journey with them. They were believable, and I was especially really drawn toward the relationship of Phantom and Christine, as the chemistry and duets between the two was powerful, and was also a joy to see these two on stage each time they entered.
In terms of the set, each piece was designed with so much attention to detail, and really felt each time that you really were seeing a completely different set to the one before, and each one was so much different to the other. My favourite set piece was either the spectacular Phantom liar, with the candles, piano, and gate, or the staircase used at the very beginning of Act Two, which was also probably the most colourful and biggest set piece used in the whole production.
Overall, Phantom of The Opera has to be my all time favourite musical, mainly due to the scale of the whole production, the time and effect to every attention to detail in characters, costume, set, music, props and lighting. It is also the first time that I have said that it will be the first production which I would be happily go and watch over and over, and never get bored.