Oct 9th, 2015
Sequels usually have a hard time living up to their predecessor. However this is particularly the case when the forerunner is the most popular, most seen and most instantly recognisable show on earth. It is no wonder that Andrew Lloyd Webber's theatrical masterpiece, the next chapter in the Phantom story is creating a stir in Theatreland.
Phantom has ventured across the sea to Coney Island in New York where the Phantom launches a new show. Phantom is a little more at home in the world living among the freaks of Coney Island but still pining to get his songbird Christine back. Christine expectantly arrives in New York accompanied by her rather dull husband Raoul and son Gustave to perform at Coney Island's latest attraction.
The plot jumps from 1881 to 1907 and is set in the exotic and slightly sinister Coney Island fairground Phantasma created by Phantom. Bob Crowley has added a slightly surreal twist to the elaborate sets and costumes and incorporated elements of cinema as well as the excitement of electricity and the automobile. Cowley has had a field day in the scene in the Phantom's Aerie which is filled with macabre beings such as a half woman, half skeleton walking a hostess trolley and a singing chandelier of Medusa like heads.
Handsome Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess lead an excellent cast who all give top notch performances. Ramin Karimloo captures Phantom's awkwardness as well as his brilliance and his powerful voice really does soar. Sierra is fabulous both in voice and presence.
I did not leave the theatre humming "Till I Hear You Sing" but perhaps that is due to the fact that the music is still so fresh and the score hasn't had a chance to wrap it's lyrics around aficionado's hearts. I didn't feel the music was of the same potency as Andrew Lloyd Webber's great classics. But will people be humming "Till I Hear You Sing" in months, years to come? Of course, they will.
There are ingredients in the show that grab the audience; the spectacle of it is fantastic, however the story lacks a proper narrative depth and its fictional plots are at times hard to follow and weaken as the second act draws to a conclusion.
For almost 20 years on and off Lloyd Webber's been working on a sequel, his long-held obsession with the Phantom project is matched only by Phantom's for Christine.
View our show pages for more information about Love Never Dies, Adelphi Theatre.
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