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Am I The Only One?
Phantom of the Opera
Member Name: pjs21
Phantom of the Opera
Date: 03/09/00, updated on 11/04/05 (278 review reads)
Advantages: Can't think of anything
Disadvantages: Most of it
I seem to be outnumbered when it comes to this musical. I have seen quite a few shows in the West End and had heard some of the songs from this show before going and wasn't over keen.
There is no doubt at all that Andrew Lloyd Webber is the man responsible for putting the West End back on the map when it comes to musical theatreatched only by the writers of Les Miserables. But he has had consecutive running successes. Just take a look at his impressive biog:
Cats, Starlight Express, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Coat, Whistle Down The Wind, Beautiful Game and Evita are just a few. And his number of flops, in comparison to those already listed, are few and far between. I can only think of Aspects of Love and Jeeves, though you may know of others.
The idea behind Phantom is a great idea, there is no doubt about it. With the grandeur of the setting it has all the potential of making a fantastic musical/opera.
The story is a simple love story, along the lines of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast etc.
The beast loves the beautiful girl, but the beautiful girl loves the beautiful boy. There is jealousy and murder in abundance.
The music is gloriously sweeping and dramatic, the songs are big, the costumes bigger. And the set is beautiful.
So why didn't I like it?
We all know Music of The Night, possibly one of the biggest songs to come from a musical and into everyday life, other than Nessum Dorma, though that was opera.
Other numbers include:
The Phantom of the Opera
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
Point of No Return
Think of Me
All I Ask Of You
There are lots of reprises coming through, and with the same trick as any other composer there are strains of songs appearing all over the place to remind you of moments that have already been.
The songs themselves, when brok
en down, are a real mix of good and bad. As a singer, there is nothing better to show off your voice than a Webber ballad. You get to show off you top range and belt out a great big number.
But how boring would it be to sit through a show full of ballads being belted out to you. It would be as boring as The Phantom of the Opera. Yes you have a lovely voice, yes it's a huge song and it's sung very well. But please, please can we have some variation here. Some of these songs are so painfully slow. Did you know that the full version of Music of The Night lasts over 8 minutes? And Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again...such a durge.
The problem I had with this show wasn't just the banality of the songs, but the fact that unless there was some amazing special effect happening on stage, then there really wasn't a great amount happening on the stage. Webber writes these huge sweeping scores which in most of his shows seem quite unfitting and out of place, but in the Phantom they do work very well. The biggest problem is that the characters are all a bit shallow and uninteresting.
The balance of the show, for my money, just isn't right. Webber rights good music, I will not argue that, but that's all. His character development leaves alot to be desired. I think I'll stick to Sondheim.
I fell asleep five times throughout this - and was woken up when something exciting was happening.
Verdict - Has moments of design genius and looks incredible, but on the whole, the music, lyrics and characters aren't interesting enough to hold you. Was one of the best nights sleep I had.