Saturday, 17 May 2014

GMTG Presents: The Phantom of the Opera

It was just over a year ago that I wrote my first review for the Hippodrome, on this very show. Therefore it seemed only right that now as I'm heading towards the end of my time at the Hippodrome and at the University of Birmingham that I should return to this show. 

GMTG (Guild Musical Theatre Group) has an ongoing record of putting on spectacular shows every year. I admit I was a bit apprehensive when I heard that the summer show was The Phantom of the Opera. How would they manage the chandelier? What about the boat that famously glides across the stage? I clearly did not give them enough credit as both were incredibly impressive. 

Just briefly for anyone unfamiliar with this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic: The show takes place in an opera house in nineteenth century Paris. When Italian Diva, Carlotta (Joanna Goldspink) refuses to perform, Chorus girl, Christine (Abby Fiddick) is forced to take her place in the spotlight. Christine's voice delights an old childhood friend, Raoul (Thom Udall) but also attracts another man, the Phantom of the Opera (Andy Wilson). 

Phantom is renowned for its strong vocals and the cast absolutely delivers. Joanna Goldspink's strong bold operatic voice is perfect for the role of Carlotta and Abby Fiddick's Christine beautifully contrasts while at times more gentle it is also very powerful. 

Andy Wilson proves the be the ideal Phantom. Flawless vocals aside, he effortlessly switches between the menacing and frightening Phantom who dominates the theatre, to the more vulnerable Phantom who hides from the other characters.His rendition of the well known songs, 'The Phatom of the Opera' and 'The music of the Night' are remarkable.  Thom Udall is a great Raoul and stuns with his take on 'All I Ask of You'. 

Ben Cuffin- Munday, Peter Brooks and Jake Dorell provide the comic relief for this show as the two managers of the theatre Monsieur Firmin and Monsieur André and Carlotta's leading man Ubaldo Piangi. All three have perfectly executed comic timing and easily lighten the mood during the show's darker moments. 

Emily Anderson and Tasha Cotran who play Madame Giry and Meg Giry are both fantastic actresses and fabulous singers. Both gave outstanding performances and were very captivating no matter how many people they shared the stage with.

Although this show is famous for its songs, Emily Bowers and Lorna Newman did an exceptional job with the choreography. It isn't often that I go to see a musical and find myself so focused on the dancers that I forget that there is more going on onstage. 

The 27 piece orchestra were hidden somewhere backstage where phenomenal giving true credit to Lloyd Webber's work. 

I believe that tickets are sold out for tonight but it is completely worth going down to Deb Hall at the Guild in hope of grabbing yourself a ticket. If you can't get hold of one for tonight then at least next time you'll be first in the queue buying your ticket!

Well done to all of GMTG you were absolutely incredible!

Cast: The Phantom: Andy Wilson                                                 Monsieur André: Peter Brooks      
          Christine Daaé: Abby Fiddick                                             Madame Giry: Emily Anderson
          Raoul Vincount de Chagny: Thom Udall                            Meg Giry: Tasha Cotran
          Carlotta iudicelli: Joanna Goldspink                                  Ubaldo Piangi: Jake Dorell
          Monsieur Firmin: Ben Cuffin- Munday                             Joseph Buquet: Forrest Gamba

Dancers: Emily Bowers, Lorna Newman, Melissa-Rose Marsh, Eleanor Rattenbury,                                       Katherine Grayson, Kate Dobbs & Ellen Howard


Crew: Director: Megan Probert
                           Musical Director/Producer: Josh Sood
                           Assistant Musical Director: Anthea Ma
                           Producers: Ella Darbyshire & Lucy Sweeney
                           Choreographers: Emily Bowers & Lora Newman
                           Production Assistant: Jacob Lovick
                           Costume Designer: Maysie Chandler. 
                           Lighting Designer/Assistant Stage Manager : Fraser Clenahan. 
                           Stage Manager: Rebecca Maynard. 
                          Assistant Stage Managers: Jessica Thackray, Jade Goddard, Natalia Alyokova,                                                                             Casimira Hayward-Peel, Joe Christopherson.  
                            Photographer: Charlotte Wilson

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