Based on the Gaston Leroux novel and often referred to as ‘the other Phantom’ in a culture where Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is a huge success, this show has all the ingredients in a recipe for a flop, as audiences may be prejudiced towards new productions which challenge their already established views towards what ‘Phantom’ is.
This show is so much more than what meets the eye. A masterpiece in its own right, Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s version of Phantom incorporates qualities from the novel and Beauty and the Beast to create a both visually and audibly impressive show.
Kieran Brown stars in the title role and plays a phantom who is a lot more down to earth – but without a doubt equally as frightening and dangerous – than other versions. His protégé and love interest Christine Daae is played by Kira Morsley; their first interaction in the song ‘Home’ is made up of beautiful melodies and no note is left un-hit.
The show is backed by an equally talented ensemble including Thomas Hewitt (Inspector Ledoux) and Harriet Payne (Fleur), and Tom Murphy is excellent in the role of the loyal Carriere who has protected the Phantom thus far.
For a show originally written for a £12m budget, this production makes an excellent use of limited space and facilities with the direction from Dawn Kalani Cowle. With musical direction and orchestrations by Aaron Clingham the small band has great power.
The intimate setting makes you feel as if you are in the confines of the Phantom’s forbidden quarters and a collection of comedic lines take you from laughter to sadness in the tragic and faultlessly performed ending. If given a bigger budget and larger space the show has every potential to be a huge success.
Phantom is, albeit on a smaller scale, just as magical and hard hitting as any West End show I’ve seen.