The Phantom Of The Opera, the second longest running musical in London, have had a new cast this week, including Kelly Mathieson as Christine Daae, Ben Lewis as The Phantom and Jeremy Taylor as Raoul.
Kelly Mathieson gets five stars for her West End Debut as Christine Daae. She has opera credits though, and you can tell – she leaves no doubt about whether she is going to successfully hit those scarily high notes from the moment she starts singing. There might not be a note that she can’t sing – she is far from a one trick pony as a soprano, and she sings powerfully and beautifully throughout. She’s a fantastic dancer too – something which doesn’t seem to be a forgone conclusion in the casting of Christine Daae these days.
Ben Lewis is no stranger to the role of The Phantom, having played the role in the original Australian production of Love Never Dies, and he is a wonderful Phantom. His voice is interesting, rather than simply powerful or huge – and it adds a great layer to the show. Jeremy Taylor on the other hand, plays someone strangely similar to his Fiyero. He has far too much ‘swag’ for a character with the sincerity and class that Raoul should have, even down to the way that he walks across the stage. It makes his performance uncomfortable and almost cringe worthy in places.
Meg Girl is played by Georgia Ware, as a far younger character than many previous portrayals. There is an undoubted sense of Meg looking up to Christine which adds a level of depth not only to Meg Giry but the storyline as a whole. The rest of the cast – particularly Lara Martins’ Carlotta and the whole Ballet Chorus are also incredibly impressive.
Overall, The Phantom Of The Opera is wonderfully executed – the beautiful set and stunning costume design keep it interesting throughout and make it one of the most aesthetically pleasing productions on the west end right now.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score is as hair raising as you would expect a show involving a Phantom to be – and the orchestra of west end productions rarely gets anywhere near enough credit. They play the widely known but beautiful score perfectly, and the production would not be anywhere near what it is without their excellent performances.
The production could probably lose at least 10 minutes from the second act without really losing anything, and the first act felt a little slow in places. That aside – the production is as well recieved as ever. The gasps from the audience with each sighting or noise (no spoilers here) from the phantom proves that it has not lost its charm and that there are still new audiences enjoying the Phantom of the Opera as it goes into it’s 32nd year.
Performance times for “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” are Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced from £23.00 – £72.50 and are available from Her Majesty’s Theatre box office on 0844 412 2707 or visit “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” website www.thephantomoftheopera.com.
These tickets were provided by London Box Office, who sell tickets for a huge variety of London shows, but all opinions are absolutely my own. Always refer to my guide on how to get cheap theatre tickets and the current best offers before purchasing for the best deals!