On Sunday it was the 25th Anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage version of Phantom of the Opera. Over the weekend they performed the show on the Saturday and Sunday at the Royal Albert Hall, and on the Sunday, they broadcast the show live to cinema's around the World. I have always been a huge fan of POTO, first seeing it when I was about 12 years old, and I've also seen it a few times since then. I also saw the sequel, Love Never Dies (I will be doing a review on this production soon, as I feel it hasn't been given the credit it deserves), for my 20th Birthday. So I was desperate to go and see the show at the Royal Albert Hall, but unfortunately when I looked at booking tickets, the cheapest tickets available were £180.....ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY POUNDS!! :O I was gob-smacked!! So the next option was to go and see it at the cinema...luckily they were showing it at our local Odeon in Guildford, so I booked tickets for me and my mum to go and see it. The cinema tickets were much cheaper at £15 each.
I was super excited about seeing it, and we even got special programmes telling us who was in it etc. And O.M.G. Ramin Karimloo was playing Phantom. AHHHH!!!! *faints* I saw him play phantom in Love Never Dies, and he is literally THE most gorgeous Phantom I have ever seen (his wife is a lucky lady!). He's also a truly incredible singer, and he just captivated me from the moment he started singing in Love Never Dies (we had seats in the front row so were arms reach from the guy). So as soon as I saw that he was playing Phantom in POTO25 my heart started pounding and I just couldn't wait for it to begin! Finally it started, and right from the beginning it didn't disappoint, the music, the costumes, the singing - perfect! And then...oh my, and then....Raoul came on stage...the guy playing Raoul was Hadley Fraser...and oh my. He is even more gorgeous than Ramin Karimloo!! My heart was fluttering the whole way through. And his voice?! Incredible.
Ok, so not the best photo. But he is beautiful. Trust me.
Go onto his website if you don't believe me.
Anyway, enough about the eye candy. Onto the production itself; Amazing. Incredible. Fantastic. Emotional. Phenomenal. Magnificent. Beautiful. Perfect. I just don't know how else to describe it. It was everything I was expecting and so much more. The music as always made my heart soar and the hairs on my neck stand on end. The acting was as always very very impressive, and the costumes were spectacular...out of this world, the attention to detail magnificent.
The only part that I was disappointed with was that the Chandelier didn't come down at the end of Act 1, but apparently that's because of the Royal Albert Hall's own health and safety rules *cough*spoil-sports*cough*.
Because it was staged at the Royal Albert Hall they also didn't have the use of all the 'Fly Bars' which are used in actual theatres, so had to represent the scene changes with LED screens covering the entire back walls. It was incredibly clever, and although some of the scenes on the screens looked fuzzy or 'stripey' in the cinema because of the cameras, you could tell that if you were sitting in the Royal Albert Hall it would be a very impressive site.
At the end of the show they did a similar thing to what the Les Mis 25th Anniversary production team did, they brought out four of the past Phantom's (obviously for the Les Mis show they brought out four of the past Valjeans), including Colm Wilkinson and John Owen-Jones, who funnily enough both also played Valjean in Les Mis and were part of the Valjean Quartet (they do get around, all of these Musical Theatre actors!)
Andrew Lloyd Webber also brought on Sarah Brightman (the original London Christine Daae) and Michael Crawford (the original London Phantom). While we heard Sarah Brightman sing, along with the four past Phantom's, and Ramin Karimloo, we unfortunately didn't hear the beautiful sound of Michael Crawford's voice, as he is currently in the West End production of The Wizard of Oz, and had to save his voice. This made me sad :( but alas, it was truly wonderful to hear the Phantom's sing together, although I was disappointed with Sarah Brightman's performance...very weak, her voice is not as strong as it used to be. Sierra's voice is much more impressive and completely captivating.
So, to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh...a fabulous production, with a fabulous cast, and lets hope we have another 25 years of awe-inspiring Phantom of the Opera shows! Happy 25th Anniversary Phantom!