REVIEW: The Phantom of the Opera, Empire Theatre, 26/02/2013


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s
legendary musical The Phantom of the Opera has hit the Empire Theatre. Cameron McKintosh’s spectacular new production is getting rave reviews and it’s not difficult to see why. A very talented cast, stunning sets and powerful songs made it a show to remember. Nicola Denton went along to hear the Music of the Night.

 

The Phantom of the Opera is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most popular musicals and celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It still continues to sell out theatres and tonight was no exception. As a first timer to Phantom I didn’t know what to expect but I had high hopes for this “brand new” production that the posters have promoted. I can safely say it exceeded all my expectations.

Firstly it is worth mentioning that Earl Carpenter (who was due to play the lead role) was ill so we were treated to an incredible performance from John Owen-Jones, one of the original Phantoms. He had a strong operatic voice and portrayed the sinister and sensitive sides of Phantom very well. His fellow cast members also performed excellently, particularly Katie Hall as the innocent Christine Daaé and Simon Bailey as Raoul. Some characters even provided light comedy, including Angela M Caesar as 19th century diva Carlotta and Andy Hockery and Simon Green as unlucky theatre owners Firmin and André.

The term “3D” is an odd choice for describing theatre but that was exactly what Phantom was (without giving too much away). The Empire itself was used as a stage as characters appeared in various spots around the hall. It was a theatre within a theatre and a show within a show. The best example is when Lot 666 was lowered over the audience, the sheet was whipped off and sent sparks flying. A very dramatic start that threw you into the story. The sets continued to fascinate me as nearly every scene had a different design with quick smooth transitions. From the majestic golden theatre hall to the gothic underground of the Phantom’s lair.

I thoroughly enjoyed Phantom and praise Cameron McInkintosh for making such an excellent version. There is a good balance between drama, romance and horror. The songs (such as ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Music of the Night’ and ‘All I Ask of You’) are not forgotten and are still just as powerful. I would highly recommend you catch this show while you still can.

The Phantom of The Opera will be playing at the Liverpool Empire until the 9th March. TICKETS

 

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