Tuesday, July 31, 2012

'Phantom of the Opera' - The Brilliant Original

Despite The Phantom of the Opera being my favourite musical of all time, this was only my second time seeing it on stage. I have seen the film and the 25th anniversary concert on DVD countless times of course but somehow I have not gotten round to revisiting Her Majesty's. So much has happened since the last time I went there in 2008. This time I was much more observant of little details and having gained a greater understanding of musical theatre I was more capable of appreciating the show.

The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre, London
Performance: Wednesday 4th July 2012 at 19:30
Seat: Stalls D6
Cast included: Peter Jöback (The Phantom), Claire Doyle (Christine Daaé, u/s), Killian Donnelly (Raoul), Cheryl McAvoy (Madame Giry), Anna Forbes (Meg Giry), Wendy Ferguson (Carlotta Giudicelli), Jeremy Secomb (Ubaldo Piangi), Barry James (Monsieur Firmin), Gareth Snook (Monsieur André)

Gina Beck and Ramin Karimloo - the two I saw on my
first visit. (source)
The show was magnificent of course. Even my sister whom I had dragged with me stated that she had forgotten how impressive the music was. I love Phantom because of the show in itself: the music and the story (however sloppy-romantic it may be). Hence I am generally not fussed over which actors are playing the main parts. I must say, however, that knowing Peter only for having dubbed the voice of Aladdin for the Swedish-language release of the Disney film, I was most interested in seeing him as the Phantom.

Peter's take on the role was very different to what I have witnessed before. I found myself having more pity for him than normal since his younger voice and shorter statue (in comparison to what I have been used to seeing the Phantom have) made him come across more human rather than a supernatural being.
Claire impressed me greatly with her Christine as she had a lovely innocence to both her looks and her voice.  I have heard recordings of people with stunning voices singing Christine but they have sounded too mature and had I seen something like that on stage I don't think I would have been convinced. So Claire did a great job. 
Peter Jöback and Sofia Escobar
Photo Michael Le Poer Trench

I loved Killian as Raoul. This was my first time seeing him perform live and I found he has a great stage presence. I found myself fixated on what he was doing during Prima Donna for example rather than watching the overall action. I very much enjoyed Anna's take on Meg. She was genuinely funny to watch with her sharp facial expressions but she did not come across exaggerated. I had never thought of a comedy side to Meg before so it was lovely to see Anna bring that up. 

It was a little strange for me seeing some of the 25th anniversary concert cast members on stage playing their respective parts - that made me half expect Sierra Boggess or Ramin Karimloo to walk on - but they were all brilliant and their acting felt very familiar and "right" due to the fact that I have seen that DVD several times. 

As one expects to happen, I walked out of the theatre after the performance randomly humming some of the recurring melody snippets of the score. My main thought was: Why have I not come to see the show again sooner? I need to try and come back more often than every four years as I had almost forgotten how incredible the original stage show is. I am hoping to go and see the UK touring production this autumn also. 


  1. I think I'm a bit jealous you saw Killian Donnelly live... I really like the John vs. Killian videos, and for that reason alone I'd love to be able to say I've actually seen him perform - but he was filming the Les Mis movie when I was in London. Oh well!

    Hope you'll get to see the tour, it'd be interesting to hear what you think about it!

    1. I felt very lucky to be seeing him live. It can be so very frustrating sometimes when you have booked a ticket hoping to see a specific actor and then they are not on. Luckily understudies tend to do an incredible job.
      And those John vs. Killian videos are absolutely hilarious! I really hope they get round to doing another one sometime in the future.

  2. I'm glad you got to see Killian Donnelly live .. I have not seen the show, but it sounds amazing!