“The Phan… tomoftheoperaisthere – inside my mind!”
Anyone who knows me well will remember I worked for a couple of years backstage (in the lighting department) on the Sydney production of The Phantom of the Opera, back in the late eighties.
I think I saw the show well over 200 times. Perhaps 300? I can’t remember. This long stint proved to be the death-knell of my techie career…
Needless to say, I laughed out loud when I got this review assignment…!
Here follows my review:
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s magnificent spectacle, The Phantom of the Opera, is the longest-running Broadway musical in history (now in its record-breaking 23rd year). It’s also the world’s most lucrative single entertainment project to date, raking in over $3 billion since it was first staged in London in 1986.
Now in its third national tour, presented by the Music Box Company, “Phanty” returns to the Pantages for its Halloween night swan song.
Sumptuous period costumes and sets, fluid transitions, both musical and staging, make this a magical night at the theater.
Based on Gaston Leroux’s soaring gothic romance (1910), and reminiscent of the fable “Beauty and the Beast,” a promising singer Christine (Trista Moldovan) falls under the spell of a mysterious masked man (Tim Martin Gleason) who haunts the Paris Opera House.
The cast is superb, especially Sean MacLaughlin as Christine’s suitor Raoul. Kim Stengel gets good comedy mileage playing the pompous diva Carlotta and Tim Martin Gleason inhabits the ghoulish Phantom with great conviction. Trista Moldovan’s pure and clear voice only occasionally competes with the lush orchestra.
Infamous for borrowing several musical phrases from Puccini and even Pink Floyd, Webber’s melodies may be pedestrian, yet you cannot deny this musical’s popular appeal. His composition moves seamlessly from true opera to romantic duets to rock opera (wailing electric guitar) all of which mesh well with occasional harp and violin solos and soaring, tender melodies that create several shivery moments.
Crisp direction from Harold Prince and energetic conducting from William Waldrop rounds out a first-rate and thrilling production. Even if you loathe popular musicals, this one might win you over.
Review by Pauline Adamek