REVIEW: PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Her Majesty’s Theatre)
The famous chandelier that crashes onto the stage, seems to hit the floor with caution. I guess they want to make sure it doesn’t really break!
Last week, 4 new people joined the principle cast of Phantom Of The Opera at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. Marcus Lovett (The Phantom), Simon Thomas (Raoul), Lara Martins (Carlotta) and Anna O’Byrne as Christine (at certain performances). The role of Christine continues to be shared with Sofia Escobar.
Set in the grand Paris Opera House, the Phantom Of The Opera lives in the shadows of the walls, never seen but always there. Watching the performers rehearse he falls in love with Christine Daae and secretly takes her under his wing as a protégée, teaching her to sing.
When leading lady Carlotta refuses the perform one evening, Christine is given her moment to shine on stage, after which the Phantom insists she be the lead in his new Opera. Christine, who’s father promised to send The Angel of Music to her from heaven when he died, finds herself attached to the Phantom but for the wrong reasons. This allows the Phantom to fall deeper in love with her, only to find out she is in love with someone else.
Australian actress Anna O’Byrne is no stranger to this Andrew Lloyd Webber Classic, having playing the role of Christine in the Australian version of the show as well as the national tour of Love Never Dies where she continued the same character role.
Marcus Lovett made his Broadway debut in the original production of Les Miserables and went on to play the leading role in Phantom Of The Opera which he now finds himself back in, on another continent. Marcus also originated the role of The Man in the London production of another Lloyd-Webber classic Whistle Down The Wind.
Whilst being one of the more beautiful old theatres in the West End, due to the design of Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Dress Circle overhangs the stalls quite far, causing the back half of the downstairs to echo at times when the sound moves around. This means the sobbing from the audience can be heard all around but adds to the moving storyline.
The performance of Phantom Of The Opera was, of course, wonderful. Shows like this don’t run for 25 years if they aren’t! The new cast did very well and once they settle into their new roles, this will be a great one to go and watch.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Johan Persson