Thursday, 25 April 2013

Phantom Haunts the Hippodrome Wed 13 Mar - Sat 4 May

If you have seen The Phantom of the Opera in the West End I would still insist that you go see this tour. The musical has been around for twenty eight years and so this was a truly remarkable way to re-invent such a timeless classic. Although the London stage had set my expectations for a large-scale, overpowering phenomenon and even though the tour has been clearly down scaled a little bit, it combines everything that we have ever loved about the show but provides a new angle that allows us to fall in love with it all over again.   I was still astounded and captivated and I would gladly repeat my visit every night until it leaves town!
For anyone who may not know what The Phantom of the Opera is actually about here is what you need to know. It takes place in nineteenth century Paris, in an opera house. Our leading lady Christine (Katie Hall) is forced to take the spotlight when the Italian Diva, Carlotta (Angela M. Caesar) refuses to do the show. This turn of events delights Christine’s childhood sweetheart, Raoul (Simon Bailey) and another man… the Phantom of the Opera (Earl Carpenter).

Where do I even begin?

Katie Hall was the perfect Christine. She hit every note so beautifully and really changed the way I saw Christine, she made her gutsier and yet never forgot that Christine is described as having her head in the clouds.

Earl Carpenter's Phantom was haunting. He was cruel and he was frightening but clearly also vulnerable and lonely and I couldn't help but fall in love with his character. 

Simon Bailey was a fantastically well-chosen Raoul for this production to play the strong, handsome man who sweeps Christine off her feet.  Their chemistry was completely believable and his duet All I ask of you was simply breath-taking and he proves to be a worthy rival to the Phantom. 

Carlotta (Angela M. Caesar) along with Monsieur Firmin (Andy Hockley) and Monsieur AndrĂ© (Simon Green) provided the comic relief for this show and believe me; the timing is always impeccable.

There were times where the majestic setting was lavished in gold and red and then suddenly you would be thrust into the dark world of the Phantom and take the journey through the dimly lit and highly smoky passage to his lair. I was completely mesmerised by the setting from the magically appearing stairs that concealed the underground world to the boat that sailed across the stage. 

The music and lyrics are unforgettable; from the powerful title song The Phantom of the Opera to the beautifully haunting Wishing you were somehow here again and of course, the love ballad to lead the way for all other love ballads, All I ask of you. You will find yourself still singing along to the songs months after you have left the theatre.

From the moment the lights went down we were completely entranced. If you are a fan of musical theatre this is one not to miss!

What more can I say? It was absolutely spectacular!

Check out the trailer!

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