I saw the matinee show of Phantom of the Opera on Thursday, September 27.
And for the first time in my life, I have to write a review that is more negative then positive actually ... First time ever ...
I didn't have a great seat, as I was so late booking (P6, should anyone be very familiar with Her Majesty's Theatre *lol*), but that didn't bother me so much actually. The theatre wasn't full so I didn't have anyone in front of me, and I saw the stage fairly well - it was only when things happened high up on the stage - or the end of the chandelier's journey! - that I couldn't see, as those parts were blocked my the Dress Circle.
Have to give credit to Her Majesty's Theatre when it came to Programmes and Souvenir brochures - on one point. When you bought a set, you got it in a bag, which was a lot easier to handle than two loose ones (especially since the brochure is quite large!). However, I was a bit disappointed to see that they hadn't updated the souvenir brochure with the new cast change, so it still listed Peter Jöback and Killian Donnelly ...
The audience was not a great one ... unfortunately. Lots of tourists, taking photos both before the show and during the break, so the staff ran around like crazy telling them photography was not allowed *sigh*! I had an elderly couple next to me, who actually started talking during the show - which to me is just unacceptable!!! Sure, they only did it when the music was really loud, but you sit only inches from each other, and it was still quite disturbing - and rude!!
Phantom of the Opera is a truly spectacular show, very impressive - both the scenery and the music are almost overwhelming and very majestic - unfortunately, I did not have a great deal of luck with the main performers on this show ...
Scott Davies played Phantom, he is the understudy, and I saw him in a "Best of West End" show in 2006. Back then I felt he was quite good but he had a tendency to overdo things .... this time he overdid things constantly. Everything was taken so far into extreme and it very much collided with my idea on this very interesting and mysterious character. I am sure many people enjoy his performance but I can't say that I agree with the way he choose to interpret the character, and there were quite a few things I was bothered about.
Sofia Escobar played Christine, and she basically saved the show for me!! She was really really good, just a few times I felt she went a bit over the top, but mostly she did an amazing job! I can't quite say if she was better than Gina Beck, who played the part in 2009, because Beck was fantastic - but Escobar really carried the show when I saw it now!
Simon Thomas as Raoul did an okay job! Can't say that I was that impressed with him though, I felt he was way to edgy and sharp to be the true Prince Charming, so I was a bit disappointed there as well!
As Firmin and André I got to see Barry James and Gareth Snook, familiar faces from Les Misérables - I saw James in 2009 as well, but it was really nice to see Snook live - he did an amazing job on the comedy! :)
Overall, however, not a great musical experience, unfortunately. I know these things can happen at times, but of course, it's not very nice when it does.
And some photos from my souvenir brochure: