The overture of The Phantom of the Opera is perhaps one of the most recognisable show openers of all time. The spine-tingling score of this classic Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical remains intact, and, like all good musicals, is the best thing about the show. Musically and lyrically this landmark show is like no other.
Touring the country in this visual spectacular that is the 25th anniversary production of the ground-breaking show, Cameron Mackintosh has spared no expense in the staging. Gracing the audience in Birmingham with his presence this evening, the attention to detail that he and his creative team pay to lighting (Paule Constable) and sound (Mick Potter) is paramount in the success of the production. Paul Brown’s set design is no less than a masterpiece; the adaptation making the set fit for touring is an incredible achievement. Lavish set pieces create the ambience of the Paris Opera House in a sense of style that is the perfect mixture of grandeur and intimacy.
Whilst Masquerade lacks subtle choreography that could allow the ensemble to gain greater fluidity throughout the piece and Music of the Night is somewhat lacking in staging; the Phantom and Christine’s journey along the lair seems cut short, not demonstrating clearly enough how they become so in lust. Show stopping numbers have to be the signature The Phantom of the Opera, Angel of Music and All I Ask of You.
Earl Carpetner is an intimidating and powerful Phantom, his passion for the role is apparent in his terrific displays of emotion and connection to the character; truly channeling his undenying love for the naive and innocent Christine Daaé (Katie Hall). She remains curious and the object of affection for both the Phantom and Raoul (Simon Bailey).
Celebrating its 11,000th show in London tonight, the packed house at Birmingham Hippodrome proves just how popular this show has become; a true phenomenon of British musical theatre.
The Phantom of the Opera plays at Birmingham Hippodrome until May 4 when the tour will end.