Phantom Of The Opera ~ 2012, Uk Tour
Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:53 PM
I've also seen the (very good) Hungarian production, and so was quite open to something 'new'.Firstly, a special mention to Olivia Brereton making her debut as Christine (in her first professional production) - she was quite outstanding. A very good actress and a crystal clear voice. She was very believable, and it was quite exciting to see her make the same journey as Christine from unknown chorus girl to star.
The auction was slightly different, and as mentioned elsewhere, Raoul is 'able bodied', and the transition into the overture worked really well, and seemed to place Raoul at the centre of the story. Simon Bailey was very good throughout.Hannibal worked just fine, and got a good few laughs. I very much liked the managers - they were funny without playing it for laughs.
I liked the busyness and activity of the dressing room scene, although there seemed a little bit of a hiatus in the action between the mirror section and into the journey.The journey was really good. It kept the Phantom and Christine on stage longer and was a really interesting new take on an iconic scene. Praise to the designer, Paul Brown, here - his multi-purpose set, served well here.
Then into Music of the Night, which was a massive disappointment. The set design here did nothing for me, it was set WAY too far upstage (looked like around a 15-20 ft gap between the lair and the orchestra pit, although it may have been less) and the blocking was atrocious. Both the Phantom and Christine walked around in circles and gestured for no apparent reason and you got no sense of the action you were watching and the words and music you were hearing being aligned at all. It really undermined John Owen Jones, who sang it beautifully.
I quite liked that Christine found the Phantom unmasked - it made her more 'innocent' (and thus her later unmasking more of a betrayal) and also changed the Phantom's reaction to horror that she had seen him rather than anger that she has wanted to see him.The manager's office worked well (although it seemed a little cramped) - and I was glad that (as in Hungary) this scene actually had a set!Il Muto again was fine, but I didn't like that we saw the Phantom hang Buquet - just a personal preference, but I like the Phantom to have some mystery and magic (Buquet talks of his magical lasso after all)
The rooftop was ok - nicely sung, but lacked the beauty of the Paris rooftops and the original angel. Then the chandelier. It wiggled around a bit and let off a single firework. So Carlotta no longer sings to bring down the chandelier, and Act One ends with a damp squib. May not be the centrepiece of the show for some, but if the story and script refers to the chandelier crashing, then make it crash. The Hungarian production got round it (with a non-resident production and I suspect a fraction of the budget). Also worth noting, that if you sit towards the back of the circle, the chandelier obscures your view of the back of the stage for the whole show.
Masquerade was also a little flat (literally - it just lacked some levels) but I quite liked the hall of mirrors. The red death costume was awful though - another set piece that didn't work.Good moments in the second act, included a well staged rehearsal for Don Juan and a beautifully sung 'Wishing', but the graveyard scene was very mixed. I again thought it brough Raoul's side of the story brilliantly to the forefront, but again the blocking was a bit of a mess.
PONR was pretty good - a different staging, but not too over-sexualised, though the Phantom's cloak didn't work for me (they really did take a very loose apprach to the idea of using Maria Bjornsen's costume designs) and when it came to the unmasking, from the upper circle I couldn't really make out much deformity at all - just a bald head (and I have 20:20 vision!)
The final lair from JOJ was much angrier and more violent than I remember him (absolutely no way Christine would choose him a la LND after this scene!) and the whole lacked a little bit of dramatic tension. The mob bursting into the lair and the final disappearance were good though.
All in all, a strong cast and a fairly good production that improves some parts of the London show (manager's office, DJT rehearsal et al) but butchers some of the key moments. It is not that it doesn't slavishly follow the original that bothered me in these moments, but more the fact that they changed them but came up with things that didn't work.I think it will strengthen as it tours, but had this production opened in London in 1986, I don't think it would have run for as long as it has.
Posted 23 March 2012 - 05:46 PM
Posted 25 March 2012 - 11:16 PM
Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:16 AM
. . .and the tango type dance they played out over the table; phantom dancing even though just a bit I thought was a lovely touch and I think it contrasted with the Final Lair which emphasised Phantom being a broken man.
Tango? Maybe they are planning to have Russell Grant take over the lead after JOJ and Earl Carpenter are through.
Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:45 AM
Hello, I write to the Maria Bjornson archive today to pose an inquiry on the recent misuse of her designs and name in the current Phantom of The Opera U.K. tour. Upon viewing the production it seems they have taken great liberty at dismantling her design of the costumes and even some beyond recognition; I am a huge fan of Marias work, particuarly in \"Phantom\" and although her name appears on the credits of the tour I feel they have seriously misued her material and it is not being represented in the best light. I only hope to make the archive aware of this situation
and the reply was:
Thank you very much for your email. We have not managed to view the latest touring production of PHANTOM yet and are alarmed to hear what you say. We do know however that the set has been completely re-designed. We were told that the costumes were unchanged. I will let you know more when I have spoken to the touring company producer.
Thank you again,
Olivia Temple The Maria Bjornson Archive
This further PROVES the fact that these Phans are soo closed minded to new ideas or new deisgns. I do however, find it interesting that they acually replied.
Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:03 AM
Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:19 AM
Lurking over at the 'Deserted Phans' boards, you know, THAT crowd.
Posted 27 March 2012 - 12:51 PM
Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:01 PM
Agreed, have still to see the show in London myself but I have seen pleanty of bootleg videos over the years and I have to say I appluad TPTB (CamMac etc) for trying something new.
Still does not detur my exicetment from seeing it in September!
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