The touring version of The Phantom of the Opera is the biggest Broadway show ever produced. Judging by the reaction of the punters at Place des Arts last night, producers Cameron Mackintosh and Matthew Bourne can sleep well.
Complete with state of the art pyrotechnics, the world famous chandelier, a fifty-two piece orchestra and a stellar cast, The Phantom of The Opera outdoes itself on every level.
Andrew LLoyd Weber’s ( Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe) score is set to life under, on top and around brilliant sets and spectacular costumes. The contrast between the dark of the ‘mood’ and the light of the characters is simply stunning. Led by Derrick Davis as The Phantom, Eva Tavares as Christine Daae and Jordan Craig as Raoul – the tale of despair and terror inside the opera house is brought to life tenfold.
Davis brings an unhinged masculinity to the part of The Phantom. On edge and every bit a man on the verge of insanity (sanity?). Piercing vocals softened by a human element which is not easy to portray. To act a phantom is one thing. To be the phantom – idiopathic. Davis not only energizes, he depletes. The energy gathered in a room, simultaneously sucked in and out in the blink of a chandelier.
Aside from the ensemble of actors, actresses and dancers, the supporting player who should win awards is the set designer Paul Brown.
Seamlessly the sets rotate like a rose petal in the breeze. Stunning when you consider the illusions parlayed into the crowd. One moment a graveyard is the canvas and suddenly, in a matter of seconds, the Opera House is the central character. Like a well edited film; the scenes’ continuity as pure as The Phantom’s mask.
Sound and vision. One without the other as empty as a tin can washed ashore on a barren beach.
Mick Potter’s sound design, John Rigby’s musical supervision, Maria Bjornson’s costumes and Paule Constable’s lighting design frame the show with precision. Taking lyrics and a musical score to new and different heights visually is a task. Keeping the theme of the original Phantom and bringing it to date without raping and pillaging – a veritable task. If sound or sight is off, the phantom would fade into obscurity.
Adapted for the new run – The Phantom of The Opera is bound to invite an entire new generation to the story of love gone amiss. Twenty – five years of attracting audiences and fans is nothing to scream at. The choreography is acute and the timeless songs send joy to the soul and shivers down the spine.
A must see for theater goers and everyone who is a fan of a good story.
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