Wilma’s Rating ***

It’s more Phantom of the Amateur than Phantom of the Opera in this, the world premiere of Maury Yestons Phantom. A story similar to the Andrew Lloyd Webber version but not quite. Written before the Lloyd Webber version, this musical never made it to stage after the success of the current west end production left this with no where to go.

This version has no Raoul and so it is a very different kind of love story. One where thankfully love does die and leaves no room for a sequel. We learn more about the Phantom (Eric) than we already know. His childhood and how he came to be the phantom of the opera house. The storyline is good, something any fan of the brilliant original (as it is called) will enjoy for it peels back the story we all know and shows another side.

Musically Phantom is not quite right. The songs are good but feel unfinished. Notes seem to trail off into nowhere and the melodies can be uncomfortably strange. A few of the songs go on a bit too long including one of the final ones where the Phantom (Kieran Brown) seems to be on the floor with his head in his hands for about 10 minutes leaving the audience looking around for something to actually watch.

Kieran Brown (Phantom) did well with the songs he had to work with and Kira Morsley played a very sweet portrayal of Christone. Pippa Winslow stole the show for me as Carlotta, with her great voice and character. Sadly the set design could quite easily been done by a primary school. Laughter could be heard throughout the audience everytime the iconic mirror in Christine’s dressing room opened so she could go down into the Phantoms lair. For a show that can surely be marketed to attract enough people who are curious to hear another side to the classic west end tale, it confuses me as to why they producers couldn’t have pulled together a bit more of a budget for this show.

Phantom at Ye Olde Rose and Crown is worth watching but sadly for something with so much potential, let’s itself down.