The Phantom of the Opera

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Her Majesty's Theatre
Haymarket, West End, Greater London SW1Y 4QL
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I went to Londen on a four-day trip with my school, and on the second day ‘the Phantom’ was on the programme. Being a student at the music academy, I was already familiar with the score of the play, which was composed by Lloyd Webber. I was impressed by this composition, as it is well written, breathtaking at some moments, and very tender most of the time. Knowing a lot about this musical, attending the show was definitely on my list. That evening a dream came true. Sitting on my seat at Her Majesty’s Theatre, I had high expectations for the show and was eager to see how all is done on stage. What an experience!. The spectacle was overwhelming. The costumes, the boat, the candles, the chandelier, the staircase, it was all fantastic. The dancers and the chorus were also superb. After the show, we all shared enthusiastic feelings about the spectacle that we just had witnessed.

The best musical EVER!

Actually, if i'm honest, this is cheese of the HIGHEST order. But it's AMAZING cheese. All of this is hilarious, but brilliantly watchable. Everything about it is superb, and just bloody great! Just see this, don't bother with the new one!

Saw phantom for the second time on tuesday night. I was hoping Ramin was on for his final week, but it was Nigel. I say BUT, however Nigel was excellent, he did a stunning job and created a real balance of character between his hate and cruelty for the outside world and his love for Christine. Gina Beck played Christine and she was superb, she sang as though the part was written for her, great vocal quality but also great interpretation of the lyrics and character, she was a joy to behold. I took a friend to see the show for the first time and he was blown away with the spectacle, grandeur and scale of the show, and I completely agree, this show is still incredibly impressive in comparison to other shows around, in terms of what can be achieved on the stage. Whatever people's views are of Lord Webber, you cannot fault the vision this man had 23 years ago to create such an amazing, visually and vocally stunning piece of theatre. Here's looking forward to Lover Never Dies!

I have seen the Phantom of the Opera twice now and both times it has been absolutly AMAZING, i have come out wanting to turn around and walk streight back in agen! Both times i have seen it Nic has been playing the phantom and he has been incredible, he is an absolutly amazing phantom. i dont think that he gets enough credit for how amazing he really is, everyone raves about Ramin which from watching him on youtube i can see that he is fab and i cant wait to see him in Love Never Dies but in my eyes Nic is a brilliant phantom, he gives me goose bumps everytime he sings! The whole cast of the show is fantastic, by far the most amazing musical/show i have ever seen! cant wait to see it again.

For Holly - It was Ramin. He does all eight shows and has been solid since he finished some side projects about three months ago. Hasn't really missed a show since end of May, if that. He's better than ever at the moment.

i saw it last night and loved it. but i want to know who i saw? can anyone help me? it wasnt nic greensheilds because ive met him and i know it wasnt him (he wasnt as tall!) also i think he only played the phantom in may/june ; please help? it might have been ramin but im not sure

fine

I went to see Phantom on a special phantom trip by a local Coventry coach firm. We had tickets for the royal circle. Nic Greenshields was the phantom. I had heard a lot about Nic Greenshields and not all of it positive a cousin who went last year was present when Nic forgot his lines (I think that it must have been the same show as the one on you tube.) My cousin had been to see it another five times since then and she says she prefers Ramin but Nic had improved. I loved it. The show was spellbinding and magical. Gina is fantastic and I love her playing Christine. Simon had my daughters heart a flutter in fact it’s a wonder she did not take of fluttering them so much!! Nic is I think one of these phantoms who can still bring an element of surprise and shock. I love his voice. His voice is so strong and it can soothe you and calm you yet it can also turn your blood to ice as well. I love the boat scene and the amazing way Nic sings and with Gina he seems to have control over her. Music of the night was sung so smoothly and seductively that I got a knock in the ribs and people in my row were smiling as I had become so engrossed in music of the night that I also closed my eyes and lifted my head as he sang "let your spirit soar". He certainly had me hooked and reeled in. WOW stranger than you dreamt it. This is the best I have ever hear this sung. It made me tremble and my daughter as Nic used his voice so masterfully if turned your blood to ice and then slowly as he carried on I began to warm towards him and I felt sympathy for him..As a phantom that is. Here was a man born disfigured but a genius having to hide himself away from the world and Christine in her morbid curiosity and bad manner removes his mask that is in some ways his security blanket his safety net. I just loved the show and loved the senses of humour Nic displayed as the phantom. It is his voice I find so beautiful. It would be nice to see Ramin and I don't know why he misses so many shows. I know and can understand that happening in the hot weather. I know people shouldn't but they do I just wish someone could get a DVD on you tube of both Ramin and Nic instead of just the sound. I know they have ushers everywhere but the Americans can lovely footage over there. I also think that Nic greenshields name should be given equal billing. With the Christine's both Robyn and Gina are given equal billing where as nic's name is right at the very bottom. I think it should say Phantom Ramin Karimloo and Nic Greenshields 'alternate' phantom. especially with the heat wave going on I don't know if they are doing this but if Ramin and Nic share out the performances during the heat wave say Nic does a Tuesday matinee and Ramin the night or just alternate as I would imagine all those heavy costumes and make up must be pretty hot and we don't want to exhaust them. I also think it would be nice if the really useful group could on their web site backstage give dates of all known performances where Ramin will be missing as it can work both ways people who like Nic get the chance to know he will perform and those who have yet to see Ramin know what dates to avoid. I know there is always some last moment where an emergency situation arises and that’s understandable but if there are set dates for which phantoms then you can choose. I am doing overtime shifts at the hospital so I can save for some more tickets to go again. Well back to hearing Nic singing music of the night before I get some sleep. it’s been a long and fairly busy night shift tonight. You lovely people out in the sun and it’s my bedtime.

Saw this musical last friday and it was truly amazing! The phantom was wonderful, but I am not entirely sure who played him. The man looked to be almost 3 meters tall! Anyone who knows who I saw.

I saw the Phantom last Friday nd I have wanted to see it for a long time. In our performance it was Nic Greenshields who was playing the Phantom and he was amazing. We also met him at the stage doorafter that and he signed my ticket and took pictures with us.

I love the movie and have dreamed of seeing it on stage.

Why is everybody complaining about Phantom? I'd like to see you do as well as the current and previous casts! I've seen the previous cast, Ramin, Robyn, Leila and Alex 4 times - they are outstanding. I am sure Gina and Simon are superb as well judging from clips on youtube. Stop complaining and watch it for yourself. :) And the orchestra is simply amazing, sends me chills to my back as soon as the overture plays!

On March 28th 2009 my daughter and I went to see phantom of the opera in London. It was our first time and I had longed to see it but could not afford it as tickets are so expensive and by the time you add transport etc it is equal to a months wages. My aunt treated us with tickets and travel for my birthday. She had checked and double checked it would be Ramin as we had heard Nic greensheilds was not very good and on you tube Ramin certainly sounded the strongest and better of the two. Imagine waiting 21 years and finally you are able to go. What a let down the phantom was. We arrived all hyped up to see the show especially Ramin, only to find out it is was Nic Greensheilds. Not even the staff at the theatre knew why Ramin was not performing and according to his website he should have been. Still i was determined to make my own judgement about Nic and not let it stop my enjoyment. The good seats the lady at the booking office reassured my aunt they were turned out to be row S in the stalls, so right at the very back and we had ordered them four months in advance and they were the only 'good' ones available. my daughter had to have three bolster cushions and i had two in fact most people in our row had two it was the only way we could see the stage. one of the scenes all I ask of you reprise we couldn't even hear Nic yet alone see him as he sounded like a whisper. There were times i wondered if he was actually miming the songs. On music of the night he seemed at one point to pause for longer than 'normal' as if he had forgotten his words. Having said that i did like his Phantom of the opera song interpretation where he kept demanding Gina sing for him, and stranger than you dreamt it was one of the best interpretations I had seen or heard (I watch you tube phantoms) and i loved how in the final lair he called Christine his angel as she went off with Raoul. Gina was brilliant and her voice is fantastic and her interpretation of Christine was very good. My daughter fell in love with Raoul. I did enjoy the show but was not impressed with Nic's performance as a whole and I would not go again if he became the phantom permanently. I also felt cheated as my aunt had to pay £55.00 as it was saturday Matinee normally they are twenty five pounds for where our seats were. I have since noticed on you tube that Nic does a lot of matinee's I feel that people who go to matinee's are seen as not worthy or second best, but you would think on a saturday matinee they would give you the full cast including Ramin as they charge more. Some of the audiance who had seen Phantom before (one person had seen had seen it 27 times) and they all said that Nic was not as good as Ramin and one person had seen Ramin five times and Nic four times and they said Nic was not as good in that peroformance as he had been in others but they much prefer Ramin. This only made me feel more upset. i know it sounds silly but for 21 years i dreamed of going. In that time six of my eight children were dead and my daughter who came with me was just a twinkle in the stars and a glint in the eye when it first came out and now she is 18 years old. I don't know if Ramin was ill or why he never did the show all I know is i felt let down because i had longed to see the show and Ramin. Anyone tell me where the really good seats are other than front row middle of the royal circle?? I am saving to try and see it again, hopefully this time with Ramin as the phantom.

Finally saw Phantom for the first time this week. Nic Greenshields played Phantom. He was just incredible. I agree that he should be given the full time lead when Ramin Karimloo moves on to the Phantom sequel. He was mesmerising.

Saw Phantom two years ago and seeig it this year again unfortunately not with the best cast i saw..Leila Benn Harris (well done to you) she was amazing and just a spectcle to see..and Earl Carpenter took my breath away when he first came on behind the mirror and i just think that phantom will run for many many more years..

Ramin was amazing, best phantom there has ever been. The show itself is soo good i could see it hundered times without getting bored. it's a must see. The cast were incredible but for me no one can beat Ramin Karimloo!

Brilliant. Ramin was the best Phantom, Robyn was beautiful as Christine. An all round fantastic cast. I couldn't believe how young Ramin was when I met him at stage door. For such an young and very good looking man to play a tortured, emotional and at times dangerous man as convincing as he did was amazing. His voice was outstanding. Well done. Also, big kudos for Wendy Ferguson who played Carlotta, amazing.

I think Nic Greenshields was truly the most amazing Phantom and I was so impressed with how pleasant he was outside the theatre after! A true star is here and well can not wait to say I met him when! And he is so sexy! WOW!!

Saw Phantom last night. Finally got to see Ramin as the phantom as last time he was on holiday. We to be honest, Nic was ok and a fine phantom but vocally flat and his acting was a bit weak. Ramin was outstanding. So powerful and emotional. His voice was haunting and seductive. He is an outstanding actor. His screams were gut wrenching when he told them to go. Very dynamic and unpredictable. You can see why theatre goers nominated him for best take over. Him and Robyn North made an amazing pair. Ramin has re-energized the show. He's actually only been there 11 months so I can see why they are hanging on to him. Nic was ok, but needs lots of work.

Saw Nic Greenshields play Phantom last week I discovered he's "Stand In Phantom". I couldn't believe it he was incredible, are the producers going to give him the job full time as I'm sure Kariloo is excellent but he's done it for while now. Greenshields is incredible I wonder how much longer they can keep him there?

Nic Greenshields as the phantom, what can you say, fantastic vocal talent, fantastic acting ability, took my breath away.

Having seen the show recently I also would like to echo the sentiments of A.Amos.I too cannot believe the criticism of Leila Benn Harris as Christine. I can only think that it must be based on jealousy of such a beautiful talented actress.Leila's performance was the highlight of the show. Her voice has a unique sound, it's phenomenal and her outstanding performance truly took my breath away. Her ability to chest those high notes as well as sing in the most beautiful head voice only goes to show her versatility.I would have loved to have seen her in the concert version of Chess at the Royal Albert Hall recently but unfortunately all the tickets were sold out. I'm sure with her unique voice and talent she'll be a leading lady in the West End for a long time to come. Bravo!

I've seen the Phantom twice & there only one person thats when she comes on stage you can feel her personallity before you see her & thats is KATHERINE GLASSON.Oh why don't people recognise this fact & stop looking at youngester who have not got the stamina to maintain the ability as she have .Not only is Katherine Glasson attactive But oh boy what a voice she put even Leslie Garrett , Katherine Jenkins in the shade when she sings .

I saw the show for the 2nd time yesterday and have to say it just keeps getting better and better. Ramin Karimloo is outstanding as the Phantom - a truly moving experience. I just can't understand people's criticism of Leila Benn Harris as Christine. Her voice is truly outstanding and her portrayal of the character 2nd to none. Yes, it is in a different style to the original but it works superbly and has really given the show a new lease of life. Her ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ will stay with me always! All the cast were superb and I would highly recommend this cast to anyone.

Absolutely Astounding! It was my first Phantom, although it has always been a dream of mine to see it. I do have great experience being in personally and watching other West End musicals, and i have to say Phantom blows all the others right out of the water. Nic Greenshields was Phantom and is quite incredible, moved myself and those around me almost to tears, and I am hoping to see him in the role again as he was just perfect. Leila Benn Harris has the looks and the acting, but her voice was off-key at times which, ruining what would have been amazing harmonies. The actual set looks incredible, and Raoul is gorgeous and exactly right for the role. It may seem like a gushing, overdramatic review but to be honest, I feel i can give it no less as the entire show was certainly five-star worthy at least! I hope to return to see it again in the not too distant future, and although Ramin is supposedly very good, I suppose i will have to say it is the performance of Nic Greenshields i will look forward to again.

I was suppose to see this show for my eighteenth birthday.....which was in 1992!!! I finally got round to seeing it in 2007. I love the music and have listened to the Soundtrack too many times to mention, so I had high expectations at finally getting to see how it is all done on the stage. Well, where do I start - I'll start with the positives. The spectacle of the show is incredible, the costumes, the boat, the candles, the chandelier, the staircase, it's all fantastic. I also thought all of the chorus and the dancers were extremely good. In terms of the principals, Raoul was very good and the Phantom (Ramin Kariloo) was pretty good. The stand out for me was Wendy Ferguson playing the Diva, Carlotta, she was fantastic! Now to the negative bit - Why oh why did they cast Leila Ben Harris in the role of Christine!!! Yes, she does have a great voice, I'm not denying that, but it's just not Christine, she's a Belter who just happens to be able to sing high aswell. The role of Christine is written in a specific way and there are a lot of girls out there who have the right quality in their voice, but Leila is not one of them. Wishing you Were Somehow Here Again, she tried to belt most of it and then had to swap into her head voice when it got too high and there was such a difference in vocal quality it was excruciating. I'm not blaming Leila, but the people who cast her, but unfortunately her performance really spoilt the whole evening for me. So overall still a great show and hopefully I will go and see it again with a different Christine.

Phantom of the opera is spoilt by Leila Ben Haris,This girl over acts like hell.she spend most of the time throwing herself all over the stage and sounds like bonny langford who has just swollowed a vibrator when not note hitting the high notes, which is the only thing she does well.I cannot see how other people said she was good.I have seen phantom 14 times and have always thought it to be the greatest show ever written,but on this girl acting alone it kills the whole show.My children who are big fans of the film thought she was rubbish.this show is still a good show it just needs a good actress in the role of christine

Normally musicals are not my cup of tea ( or so I thought)but on Saturday night I was totally blown away by the brilliance of the whole production. Especially memorable was Leila Benn Harris as Christine ( i'm in love!). Simply a supreme, breathtaking and beautiful performance. Her stunning voice moved me to tears and her acting was flawless. Ramin Kariloo was totally brilliant too as the phantom. All in all this is a show not to miss. Magnificent!

Nic Greenshields is on all this week, till Saturday. I totally agree - absolutely stunning performance. I also had tears in my eyes at the end, and his performance of "Music of the Night" had my hair standing up on end. A star performer. Cant believe this show has been running so long, it seems so fresh! But seeing it tonight was like seeing it for the first time - the auditorium erupted with applause and a standing ovation - deserved - at the curtain. I can't reccommend it highly enough, and specially this week.

Phantastic! I saw Phantom for the second time this weekend, and I thought it even better than the first time. Having Nic Greenshields as the Phantom, I was astounded to find that he was at the bottom of the cast list as "Standby Phantom". He was breathtaking and his acting moved me to tears. Raoul was played brilliantly, strong in the places he needed to be and tender yet heroic whilst with Christine. We had Leila Benn-Harris as Christine Daae, though while her acting was spot on and moving, I found her voice- which granted was tone perfect even on her E6 in the signature theme tune- to be too throaty and sometimes nasal for the role. I think she is more suited to one of her past roles; "Carmen" in Fame, than in an almost operatic role. 5 stars from me, I shall be seeing this again in the summer, when I take my boyfriend to cut his teeth on his first West-end musical.

i seen phantom for the 1st time on saturday =)!!!! after watching the flim i had high hopes for the show and im happy to say the show went beyond my expectations. i was amazing i LOVED ramin karmiloo as the phantom his voice made me jump and sent major goose bumps down my spine he was truly brillant his voice/his acting was flawless. also alex rathenbergh was amazing was raoul not only is he excently eye candy he has a voice that words can describe another flawless performance. leila benn harris played christine and she was fantastic althou it a while for me to get used to her, her voice is faultless but her acting seemed abit stiff in the 1st half but she made it up for it in the second part, she really let go and properly shone. seeing her do the scene when christine vist's her father's grave truly had me in tear's she seemed absoutly devastated and really proved how good she really is. so yeah by the end i changed my opinion and thought she was superb also i think she suits christine perfectly looks wise as i said i watched the flim and she was the christine imaged she looks very simalar to the one in the flim!!!! all in all the show is amazing, its dark and gothic but truly truly moving i would definatly recommened it to anyone who's a true theatre buff..

Going to see it for the 23rd time next week. Can't wait. Each time is like the first time, it's a brilliant show and the overture thrills me every time.

Phantom of the Opera has been running in London for 21 years, and there's no doubt whatsoever as to why. Phantom is a beautiful, gothic love story with a maginifcent score and visual effects. The show is a phonemonon has it's no wonder it has been runing all over the world. Phantom is a show that will have you spellbound from start to finish.

An absolutely AMAZING show. Since having seen the movie before finally seeing the show on August 4 2007, it was obvious to me that the orchestra sound was not as grand as in the movie...but that's pretty obvious and not by any means a bad thing for the show. Phantom always works and what lacked in sound in some songs like Masquerade (I much prefer the movie version's slightly faster rhythm and grandeur), was made up by strong singing and acting by the company. Especially to be noted was Earl Carpenter, who gave the role of the phantom such depth and strength (not to mention that wonderful voice) and Leila Benn Harris as Christine. Michael Xavier was also a surprisingly headstrong and well-singing Raoul. A pity that such a Phantom as Carpenter had to leave, but instead we'll be getting a fresh and new performance by a promising Ramin Karimloo! Phantom's definitely a show that will live!

I saw it on the 14th as well. It wasn't Earl that played the phantom it was Ramin Karimloo. He is an amazing actor and singer and it shows in his portrayal. No wonder he is taking over the role of Phantom in September. The rest of the cast are brilliant too. With Ramin, this show has a new lease of life. So great to see such a young actor to play the role. Can't wait to go again.

Saw this show on Saturday, July 14th matinee. A truly breathtaking piece of theatre. I saw the show when the touring production went to Bradford a few years back, but it was even better in London. Leila Benn Harris was outstanding as Christine, but Earl Carpenter was AMAZING as the Phantom and took everyone's breath away with his powerful singing voice. However, I think the star of the show has to be the sets, particularly the stunning chandelier and the incredible opening transformation of the theatre. Go and see it, you won't be disappointed!

Has this thing really been running for 21 years? Why? Unlike many Phantom audience members who plan and save and look forward to their visits like a state occasion, I was still mooching around the new Primark in Oxford Street at 7.25 thinking the curtain was at 8, so despite a swift cab to the Haymarket I missed the opening moments. This did give me an opportunity to stand at the back of the Circle for a couple of minutes and survey the two to three full rows of empty seats, giving the lie to the claim on Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group website that "In London there has never been a seat unsold" ... well there were at least a hundred empty on Monday 14 May 2007, Andrew. Watching the drama unfold, and seeing the stilted performances, you start wondering why it just isn't the hottest musical in the West End any more. I looked up the original cast - Michael Crawford and the queenly Sarah Brightman (who I can't stand anyway) of course, but also the almost as queenly Michael Ball, superb David Firth and pre-Fred Elliott John Savident heading a pretty well-experienced ensemble. Contrast this with the current collection of just-out-of-drama-school hopefuls and regional- theatre-veteran-understudies and you begin to see the flaws. The creaking you can hear isn't just the 21-year-old stage machinery (although that's noticeable enough) it's the cramping of budgets to the point at which the production is as undercast as it is underlit. Some of the performances are so two-dimensional that in their bejewelled costumes and powdered wigs, you're reminded of a pack of playing cards, especially Wendy Ferguson, unsubtle as a heifer in her role as fading diva Carlotta Guidicelli, and Heather Jackson who plays Madame Giry the ballet mistress more stiffly than if she were an exceptionally arthritic Mrs Danvers in Rebecca during unseasonably wet weather in Cornwall. You'd just want to burn the house down with her inside, the wood in her performance could only add to the blaze. Not that the leading men are outstanding: Earl Carpenter has been playing the Phantom for nearly 1,000 performances. If his mannerisms were any more arch, he'd need scaffolding. Michael Xavier is a remarkably unwashed Raoul, more Che in Evita than a suave French Vicomte, and his darting stage moves in odd directions unrelated to the motives of his character made me wonder if he had Attention Deficit Disorder. I certainly did in the second half when most of the tunes are re-hashes of the stuff you heard before the interval, and the plot descends firstly into the bowels of the opera house and then into ... well, bowels really covers it. This was the first night of the “new Christine”, although I couldn’t tell you which one I saw except to say she was shrewish and dark. The role is now being shared equally four performances a week between Leila Benn Harris and Robyn North. This is ostensibly to make audiences feel they are not getting the “alternate Christine” on any given night or matinee. Since both performers are pretty modestly experienced for West End headliners – Ms Benn Harris having understudied the Mistress in Evita, Ms North most recently touring with Shane Richie in Scrooge, you could say it’s Alternate Christine EVERY night. Who thought I’d ever pine for Sarah Brightman. John H www.blowstar.blogspot.com

it was the most amazing thing i've ever seen...better then all the other theatre productions i have seen all put together!

When the film version of Phantom was released I thought I had seen the stage show for the last time. However, the film was not that good, particularly Gerard Butler, and half-price tickets from GILT was a good reason to go back. To answer a question on the Discussion Board, one reason for seeing the same show several times is to enjoy the visual and aural romantic escapism which you can't get from a CD. You can always find something new to appreciate; on this occasion Michael Xavier made a more rugged Raoul, a character who can sometimes be a bit of a wimp. There is a real charge between Earl Carpenter and Celia Graham as the Phantom and Christine and the final scene is played especially movingly. Spamalot's brilliant parody has made the underground lake scene unexpectedly amusing but this is still my favourite Lyoyd Webber show and deserves to remain as a fixture of the West End. David Baxter (27.2.07)

A fantastic show with truly amazing sets, costumes and acting ! It sent shivers down my spine ! Thrilling.

Phantom was fabulous last weekend, still a wonderful show after all this time. Celia Graham was wonderful as Christine, she has a beautiful voice and it's amazing how fresh her performance is considering how long she has been doing the show now. Earl Carpenter was very good as the Phantom, although I think I'd like to see someone new in the role soon. All in all, a beautiful show. Jenny xx

What a difference! The new Autumn cast is amazing and deffinitely an improvement from the performance I reviewed earlier. Celia Graham is gone and Katie Knight-Adams leaves you breathless with her outstanding performance. Her voice just makes you melt with it's purity and clarity and she embodies a lot of what Christine should be without going over the top. John Owen-Jones is still strong, while being ever so slightly manic. Heidi Ann O'Brian makes an impressive and very pleasing Meg and Heather Jackson is a commanding Mme Giry. Possibly the best I've seen. Ramin Karimloo also is a good Roaul although his acting is a little transparent sometimes. The orchestra seems re-vitalised and the sound is deffinitely better towards the front of the auditorium in the dress circle or upper circle where I was for this particularly performance. Watching the massive drapes flying down in the opening sequence from this height is amazing. The direction is still a little too stylised for my liking and goes a bit over the top but at the end of the day great performances make me overlook these small problems. Go and see this cast if you were disappointed this Summer. Worth every penny.

This was my first time seeing The Phantom of the Opera! And by the interval i had already made my mind up that this was one that was a MUST-SEE again! The music was well written and certianly gives you a haunting feeling! John Owen-Jones was super as the Phantom, he preformed "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Music of the Night" absolutely amazing,his voice was mind blowing and definatly left a huge impression on me! I have to say that Celia Graham was excerlant as Christine, and Niklas Andersson was also excerlant as Raoul, Vicounte de Chagny, if i personally was Christine's charecter i would fall in love with him! I remember leaving the theatre singing every song that was in my head! And i definaly would like to see it again!

Well it was OK. Not as mind-blowing as I'd expected. Incredibly beautiful staging though. Watchable.

Having seen Phantom approximately 4 times now in London's West End one might consider me something of a fan. You might even go as far to suggest that I love this show so much I'll always come out thinking that my £40 was well spent. Dream on. Despite Phantom of the Opera being my first West End experience at the tender age of 11, I certainly have no loyalty and any that I did have was completely blown away by the poor excuse of a performance I was unfortunate enough to attend this Summer. Before I even get started on how completely pathetic this performance was, I first have to caution anyone still thinking of going to see this show to book their seats wisely. Think Her Majesty's Theatre are going to tell you when your seats are restricted view? No believe me, they wont. Of course, perhaps they don't consider being able to see only half the stage and only half the stage a problem. After all I was only paying £37.50 a ticket. Don't be fooled. If you think that you're going to get quality seats just because you're in the Royal Circle, you're very much mistaken. Front row centre is the best way to avoid disappointment.... well actually it probably isn't. Now I must admit, I love this show to bits. I think it's very well written and Andrew Lloyd Webber's score is truly breathtaking and very tender most of the time. Also, Maria Bjordson's design is truly inspired. Although looking a little tired these days (and we can forgive that, because it is supposed to be set in an old Opera House), the set still makes you think "how did they do that" and still competes with other set masterpieces such as Disney's THE LION KING for it's cinematic effect. Unfortunately the best ingredients are not going to insure a top level performance. I should have known from the live entry of the orchestra in the overture (for once I was actuallly GLAD that a lot of the show is pre-recorded!) that is was going to be a disaster beyond my imagination. Of course the musicians played perfectly, rather in the way I played my grade 8 scales when my music teacher bullied me. Every note was more or less perfectly placed in time, but I the overall mood seemed to be nochalent, almost as if the orchestra felt insulted at having to play the show for another night. It was at best, lack lustre from the pit. Not only was the overture stilted and lacking in any emotion, but the texture was weak and flimsy. Hardly impressive. I stopped silently bitching about the orchestra as they slaughtered one of the best scores in theatre history, simply because my attention was immediately turned to what was on stage. I know that there are supposed to be moments of commedy and the idea is that this is supposed to be stylised and vaugely steretypical but really (ANDRE) and (FIRMIN)'s performances as Andre and Firmin were a little too comic for my liking. The ensemble is strong though, unfortunately I was too busy trying to control the urge to walk out. Now let's turn to the really BIG offenders here. Celia Graham (Christine) seems to be under the impression that I'll really think she's a good performer if she shows me what she learnt at the Amateur Dramatics School of Over Acting. No wait that's too harsh; I've seen much better amateurs. She was so over the top in her manic portrayal of Christine that there were sometimes in which I felt ashamed that this is supposedly one of the best things the west end has to offer. I saw Maria Malmberg, 9 years ago and her performance was stellar. Screaming hysterically, flouncing all over the stage and looking like you're on crack half the time is not the way Christine should be played in my opinion. Sure she can hit the notes which is pretty important but when you want to strangle her because her vibrato and general sqwarkiness is all over the place that seems to be eclipsed. What about the man himself? Well John Owen Jones seems to be a very good singer and such numbers as THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT, were, dare I say it almost flawless. Again the acting was abismal. John Owen Jones's interpretation of the character who is on stage for all of 20 minutes or so certainly leaves a lasting impression..... a bad one. Most of the sung dialogue is masked by a lot of spluttering and snivelling which engenders a lot of the pathetic and tortured being we expect from the Phantom. It was nice to see this side portrayed, as Michael Crawford's interpretation on the Original Cast recording tends to be a little too perfect. Even so, the Phantom from my performance was a little too 'elephant man' to be truly endearing and pitied partly because it was so comic. Where Jones really comes into his own is the darker and sinister side of the Phantom. The scenes where the phantom becomes angry, especially in the lair were particularly good and Jones managed to strike the right balance between speaking and singing. Such a shame his co-star was too busy trying to upstage him with some embarrising over-acting. Are there any delights to the current production you cry? Well, Hayley Driscoll's Meg Giry is well suited to the part despite being somewhat nasal in places. Mme Giry (played by Liz Robertson) is also well placed. Both of them are surrounded by actors and actresses who seem to think that if they stereotype this up enough everyone will love the show. Both Nan Christie (Carlotta) and 'unknown' (Piangi) have the voices of divas, but tend to take their characters to levels of alarming proportions that you never really believe that they are their characters. Despite other people's criticisms of Nikklas Anderrson (currently playing Roaul), I found him to be perfectly acceptable. I wasn't blow away and in a performance riddled with failing it was indeed hard to spot true talent. The ensemble is generally strong and the singing and orchestra are well balanced which is something that often West End sound teams get wrong. Of course, 18 years will take it's toll on any production. The same happened to CATS. However, you only need to see the stunning production of LES MISERABLES at the Palace Theatre to know that a production can still be breath taking provided the cast have enough measured enthusiasm (as opposed to too much) and true talent. By the final scenes, I can't take it. This isn't theatre, it's a disaster area. They are certainly right; it IS London's most haunting love story. I had to rush home and get my beloved Original Cast Recording out and listen to erase the memory of what I've just seen. Lloyd Webber needs to stop worrying about taking BOMBAY DREAMS to Broadway, and attend just ONE performance of this show to see what's happened to it. On the other hand, it's quite clear that he's not that bothered. Mass slaughter is needed here job wise and I suggest we start sooner rather than later. Still want to see the show? Well it would seem from the morons around me who clapped enthusiastically at the end that maybe I'm being over-critical. If you haven't seen the show before and haven't heard the OCR, then you will be impressed and if you're not a seasoned theatre goer you will enjoy it. However, if you appreciate good theatre or are an intelligent fan of the show, then wait for a cast change and get the best seats. I really hope this show hasn't gone past the point of no return, but certainly after the performance I went to (and we're talking a Wednesday night here) there was no doubt in my mind that this shouldn't be on the West End in it's current state.

Okay, Andrew Lloyd Webber's churned out some rubbish but he deserves every accolaide he's ever recieved for giving this great show to the world. Nothing else compares.

I defy you not to be moved by this one! Forget every other musical, this is the Jewel in the Crown of London's West End. Phantom Phorever!

Still the best show in London after all these years, I loved every minute.

Please get this boring old tosh off the West End,out dated ,stale and utterly boring.Yuk!

this showis soooo goooood i just dont jknow what else to put but hurry up shuit up and go it is the best ever musical in the world it casnnot be beaten .

Absolutely Fantastic. Before I saw this, I was not particularly interested in Phantom, but I was mesmerized throughout. Now I am a huge Phan! Its a must see.

Niklas Andersson's performance as Raoul is very impressive.His voice is stunning and the acting is much more passionate than previous performers. John Owen Jones and Celia Graham are simply fabulous!

Loses a couple of stars for Niklas Andersson's disappointing performance as Raoul. Still good, and still definitely worth a look - but perhaps worth waiting until October for the cast change.

This is theatre at its very best. A true spectacle, a feast of the senses. There are no holes barred here and Phantom never ceases to amaze.

WOW!!! Go and see this, it's fantastic, wprds can't describe!!!

Still the best show ever nearly 20 years on. There's nothing to top this one. Knocks the socks of Les Miz and My Fair Lady.

John Owen Jones is great as the Phantom, he really makes you fear and pity him at the same time.

Phantastic! No more needs to be said, it will make you laugh, cry and come out of the theatre knowing you have experienced a truly great piece of theatre history.

Simply amazing

Simply amazing

Still the best show in London after all these years! May Phantom reign for many more years as the Greatest show the world has ever seen. The two leads are fantastic, and the effects are still amazing. Worth the ticket cost at 10 times the price. Go and see it again and again and again...!

Overwhelming...unforgettable night at the theatre.

First west-end musical i've seen, i absolutely loved it and plan on seeing it again in the near future. i'm baffled by some of the above low ratings, has the show changed over the past few months or are they insane?

A truly wonderful show; and this cast is the best I have seen. Matt Cammelle and John Owen Jones are brilliant as ever; and Celia Graham has a beautiful voice. An absolute dream - still a stunner and, in my opinion, better today than in 1986.

Time to GO GO GO Phantom,sorry pinched that from another Webber show!!

This cast could end this show as they are so bad and the whole show looks really tired and stale,cant see it lasting through the winter. Time for the greedy lord to call it a day!

Time to put this once giant musical to bed,very dated and set dusty and old and the cast no better than a village hall production in a theatre built for midgets with staff that are the rudest I have ever encountered. Avoid like the plague-£40 for this rubbish a daylight robbery.

Still a magical evening. I saw it in 1991 and the present cast are stronger. The music is a joy and the set and costumes are out of this world. I thing Joanna Riding would be a drem Christine after seeing her in 'My Fair Lady' the night before. I really enjoyde the classical ballet movement.

THE BEST MUSICAL WHO HAVE SEEN DAYLIGT...

I love this show. Most of the songs send goose bumps up my spine, especially "All I ask of You". Poor Phantom, you hate him but you love him.

Very good, the opening scene is one of the best and gripping in the West End at the moment. The Phantom lair scenes are superb, with the exception of the prop marked floor :S There were just three major let downs, 1, The stage floor squeaked. 2, The orchestra and actors were very very quiet.. needed to be louder. 3, It's starting to look fairly shabby in places, but otherwise very good. Do any characters mime? - I am CONVINCED.

The Phantom is everything I expected it to be... and more. Without a doubt one of the best theatre experiences you can get. Go and see it now and if you've already seen it, see it again!

the show was without a doubt brilliant a must for everybody

Now that Notre dame has closed, this can again take its place as the worst show in london. Dated, and badly performed by a cast hired for their voices only. Their attempts at acting are desperate and embarrasing. Dont waste your money on it.....hugely disappointing.

BRILLIANT!!

what a boring musical. Dont bother to go, or you may fall asleep like I nearly did!

what can i say JUST GO AND SEE IT...IT'S BRILLIANT.. GO GO GO GO GO!

Quite simply the BEST show in town! Well done ALW.

This is the only ALW show that deserves to keep running for such an inordinately long run. Great yarn, memorable music, very memorable.