Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical interpretation of The Phantom of the Opera returned to celebrate its 35th anniversary this October at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London – right where it all began.
The original Phantom of the Opera was born in 1910 in the French author Gaston Leroux’s novel of the same name : “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra” and staged for the first time by Andrew Lloyd Webber in October of 1986 in Her Majesty’s Theatre.
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Featuring clapping monkeys on music boxes, crashing chandeliers, colourful masquerades and enchanting songs, the Phantom tells the story of a physically deformed man hiding in the darkness of the Paris Opera House seeking to control its performances and players - including the wonderfully talented orphan Christine Daaé, that he trains to sing the "music of the night." But when a romantic figure from her past appears, his grasp on her weakens and he is forced to take action to keep her by his side.
According to Mark Steel, spectator to the show : “This is just beyond amazing ! I saw it once in 2004 when I was only 14, and watching it now after 16 years brings back all the beautiful memories. The whole experience was just amazing, I will come back again and again.”
After a long pandemic pause, the musical returned to the West End in July 2021 and remains to this day one of the most popular theatrical pieces of all time, 35 years after its very first performance in London. Yet thanks to this unwelcome break, the production has recently undergone a million dollar worth makeover to refurbish Her Majesty’s Theatre by demand of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
"The sets are out of this world"
And the money was well spent. This year’s West End cast performing for the 35th anniversary including Killian Donnelly as The Phantom, Rhys Whitfield as Raoul and Lucy St Louis in the role of Christine Daaé, were accompanied by wonderful new scene props – from a gigantic elephant to the central dazzling chandelier and exciting new dramatic effects including flames, the special effects have never been so good.
“The sets are really out of this world and the acting and singing prowess of the cast was second to none” commented Rahul Sanyal, spectator to the performance.
As a never ending evolving performance, The Phantom of the Opera only grows more outstanding each time. This particular production welcomes Lucy St Louis - first actress of colour in this role - and went as far as to add in their own small but appreciated details, adapting to the current season : during the masquerade scene, one of the co-managers of the Opera House bears a bone skeleton costume – a reference to the upcoming Halloween celebration, not included in the original performance.
So for this Halloween, be prepared to be sang and scared off your feet by the cast, the production and the realisation that make for an outstandingly spooky performance. The Phantom of the Opera is currently booking up to the 13th of February 2022 and showing every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 7:30pm and at 2:30pm on the week-ends at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Get into the Halloween spirit and book your seats now ! The Phantom awaits…
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