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Review: Phantom of the Opera
Until June 30
IT DOESN’T matter how often people tell you that this is a ’must-see’ show, until you’ve experienced it for yourself you can’t believe the power that Phantom of the Opera has.
The three leads, John Owen-Jones as the Phantom, Katie Hall as Chrstine and Simon Bailey as Raoul, have all starred in Phantom on numerous occasions, but the passion they bring to their performances makes you think they are discovering their emotions for the first time.
The vocal battles between the trio as they explore the love triangle which is at the heart of the show are superb, and the power and strength of feeling they evoke literally makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. This is truly great theatre.
Phantom is much more an opera than a musical, with spectacular singing sweeping you along and covering any weaknesses in the storyline. Sit back - if you can, because the tension had me on the edge of my seat at times - and let this fabulously staged show carry you along.
Thrill as Christine is plucked from the depths of the corps de ballet to become a star, melt with her as she finds romance with Raoul and shiver with horror as her bitter and scarred mentor, the Phantom, does his best to ruin everyone’s lives.
This new touring production features a new set design, which is spectacular in its own right, unfolding, contracting, using mirrors and lighting to create height and depths: the scene as the Phantom dragged Christine down into the labyrinth was amazing, a spectacular piece of theatre. The last time I saw a set that amazed, and added as much to a production as this, was the now-classic production of An Inspector Calls.
The power of the leads is matched by the rest of the cast: the dancers of the ballet chorus of the Opera Populaire are terrific in their own right, Andy Hockley and Simon Green make a fantastic comic duo as Minsieur Firmin and Monsieur Andre, while Angela M Caesar's over-the-top opera star Carlota is magnificent.
We are so lucky to have a theatre within easy reach capable of sraging a show like this and attracting productions of this calibre.