Review: The Phantom Of The Opera @ WMC
I had the pleasure of seeing Phantom Of The Opera in the Wales Millennium Centre and I enjoyed it immensely. The show is touring the UK for its 25th anniversary and Cardiff was one of its tour destinations. The show itself is usually situated in London so if you don’t get the chance to see it on this UK tour, I recommend that you visit it in London at some point in the near future. It is a must-see.
The tour began (I believe) around October/November time and is running on until around January. Even though tickets may seem a little pricey at first (I paid £25 for mine), it is a rather small price to pay for the sheer quality and enjoyment factor of this musical.
The show is based on the novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux. However, if you have read the novel and seen the show, you will know that, although both are amazing, they are rather different. So, if you’ve only read the novel, do not go into watching it with the mindset that this is a musical stage show of the book, as it is not.
The show and its songs were created by Andrew Lloyd Webber who I doubt is a name you’ve never heard mentioned. He’s created many other brilliant musicals including Cats and Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Phantom Of The Opera is, in my opinion, one of his best (along with Cats, duh) and definitely one of his more emotional musicals. The whole thing is bursting with emotion, passion and beauty and for most of the time, you’re kept on the edge of your seat even if you have seen it before or know what happens in the end. I had never seen it live until last Thursday (although, I have seen the film starring Gerard Butler a number of times) and looking back, I can’t understand why I’ve never gone to see it before! Seeing it on the stage is so enjoyable and mind-blowing. It is a show that was meant to be performed live. You really get a sense of the story and the talent of the cast when you witness it being performed live. And even if you hate musicals, I implore you, go and see Phantom. It is unlike any other.
A brief synopsis: The whole story is set within a “haunted” opera house in France during the end of the 19th century and the show follows the story of a young Swedish dancer (now turned opera singer) named Christine Daa who has her big break when Carlotta (the current opera superstar) believes she has been frightened by the “Phantom of the Opera” or “Opera ghost” and decides to walk out of the show as it is the last straw for her.
Christine is made to sing after Meg (Christine’s friend) says that Christine is an amazing singer who has recently been having lessons. The company are bowled over by her amazing voice and she is immediately a hit, much to Carlotta’s dismay. It turns out that Christine has been having singing lessons from someone she calls “The Angel of Music”, a musical spirit her father told her he would send to her from heaven when he was dead. On the night of her first show, she is spotted by a former best friend and admirer, Raoul, who remembers how much he adores and loves Christine when he realises it is her singing. Unfortunately for Raoul, Christine’s teacher does not turn out to be an “angel” at all but rather the “Opera Ghost” who haunts and scares the opera and its company.
The Phantom is besotted with Christine and feels her beautiful voice belongs to him as he discovered it. He is unhappy that he has to contend with Raoul for Christine’s affections and also unhappy that his orders (carefully listed in letters he sends to the new “bosses” of the Opera) aren’t being followed. Christine is thrown into a vicious cycle of being horrified and scared of the Phantom and his actions but also feeling safe and overwhelmed in his company. She is also completely besotted with Raoul, something that could prove to be a problem. Is the Phantom really a “ghost”? Who will Christine choose? Is the Phantom really as evil as he seems? What sorts of havoc will the Phantom reek on the opera if his demands aren’t met? If you want these questions answered, it’s just another reason for you to go and see it!
I really don’t have any criticism of the show. It was all together completely perfect. The voices were incredible and the sets and costumes were breathtaking. The only bad thing about this show is the ending but that can’t be changed, unfortunately (seriously, I knew it was coming and I still cried for about three days)! The songs were all performed perfectly. My favourite characters were Christine and The Phantom who were played perfectly by Katie Hall and Earl Carpenter. Katie Hall, as it happens, was one of the contestants on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s TV show I’d Do Anything (his search for a new Nancy) and has recently played Cosette in the London performance of Les Miserables. Her voice was mesmerising and so was the Phantom’s. To be honest, though, everyone involved in the show was extremely talented and I can’t thank them enough for making my Thursday night so enjoyable and fun.
All of the songs in this show are immense but my personal favourites were All I Ask Of You, The Phantom Of The Opera, Think Of Me, The Music Of The Night and Past The Point Of No Return.
I’m going to give the show a 10/10 because it was honestly that good.