This week, we headed down to the West End to check out The Phantom of the Opera, which is still pulling in huge crowds 30 years since it opened. Here’s our top five reasons to join the millions who have seen it. 1. Set and staging The show is a visual feast, with Maria Björnson’s set design still inspiring awe after all these years. Whether it’s the smoke filled gondolas or majestic staircases, it makes for a spectacular and surprising experience. Combined with Harold Prince’s direction and Gillian Lynne’s choreography, Phantom still wows 30 years later. 2. Costumes The show is also resplendent with some wonderful costumes, particularly during the Masquerade sequence at the start of the second half. Set in 1881, Phantom takes advantage of the colour and elaborateness of the period’s outfits. You may leave lamenting that we do not still wear gowns and top hats! 3. Music … Read more
Major cast changes are afoot at The Phantom Of The Opera with the announcement today that John Owen-Jones will return to the role of The Phantom from 7 September 2015, with Ben Forster taking on the role from 1 February 2016. John Owen-Jones has now played the role of The Phantom more than any other actor in the West End production’s history. John’s last performance will be on Saturday 30 January 2016 when Ben Forster will take over fresh from the season of Elf at London’s Dominion Theatre where he will play Buddy. Joining both Owen-Jones and Forster will be Celinde Schoenmaker as Christine Daaé; Nadim Naaman as Raoul, Michael Matus as Monsieur Firmin and Christopher Dickins as Monsieur André. It is estimated that The Phantom Of The Opera has been seen by more than 140 million people worldwide and the total gross is now in excess of $6 billion. … Read more
Although there are a few moments when the old girl creaks slightly, for the most part the staging feels contemporary and interest is snapped to attention right from the very start, when the slightly menacing words of the auctioneer herald the commencement of proceedings. The sequences in the Phantom’s lair, complete with boat, candles and ornate organ are almost hypnotic; tendrils of smoke wrap around the imagination, infusing the action and music with intrigue. Harriet Jones is beautiful, petite and alluring, exactly as Christine Daaé should be. Vocally, as the Phantom, Kieran Brown’s fine, high-baritone is silky, seductive, and powerful.