The Phantom of the Opera

Her Majesty's Theatre, St James's Until Saturday March 26 2016
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I’m not sure any show ‘deserves’ to be the most successful entertainment event of all time, but I’ll hand it current holder of that title, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ – it still works hard for its audience.

Sure, chunks of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s opus have never left 1986. But whereas describing a musical as ‘stuck in the ’80s’ is usually shorthand for cheap, thin synth orchestration, nothing could be further from the truth here: the portentously swirling keyboards and crunch of hair metal guitar that powers ‘Phantom’s title song have a black hole-like immensity, sucking you in with sheer juggernaut bombast.

Mostly, though, ‘Phantom…’ remains strong because its high production values haven’t been allowed to sag. The late Maria Björnson’s design is a heady barrage of ravishing costumes and lavish sets that change frequently, working in everything from pastoral jollity to an ancient Carthaginian theme on the way to the Phantom’s stunning underground lair.

It’s totally OTT – in one scene the Phantom zaps at his nemesis Raul with a staff that fires actual fireballs – and anybody who describes the plot (homicidal lunatic grooms girl) as romantic should probably be put on some sort of register. But its blazingly earnest ridiculousness and campy Grand Guignol story are entirely thrilling when realised with the show’s enormous budget. And while Hal Prince’s production may have been hailed as rather gauche back in the day, in 2013 it all comes across as rather more tasteful than the average jukebox musical.

Finally, there’s the cast: ‘Phantom’ remains a prestigious gig, and requires an operatic range beyond that of theatrical journeyperson. As the Phantom and his love Christine, Gerónimo Rauch and show veteran Sofia Escobar look the part and sing passionately and skillfully. Perhaps what has been lost since the days of Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman is a measure of acting ability, but if Rauch and Escobar are rather stiff (her in particular) then they do enough to successfully ride the wave of this still awesome spectacle.

 

Venue name: Her Majesty's Theatre
Contact:
Address: 57 Haymarket
London
SW1Y 4QL
Transport: Piccadilly Circus tube
Price: £20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins
Event phone: 0844 482 9672

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:19
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|27
5 people listening
Natasha  C

I have seen the Phantom of the Opera three times in the West End now. And it never loses its magic. I bought my sister tickets to see it last night as part of her Christmas present and we absolutely loved it. The actors and singers are fsntastic; the music haunting. A great night out :) Thank you Timeout!

Hector L

Never been to a musical and I wasn't interested in one, but Her Majesty's Theatre Phantom of the Opera made me realize what I was missing. It was truly a London experience...

Lynn R

Being a traditional opera fan I was never keen on the idea of seeing a 'West end' interpretation of opera. However, in its 25 year, I finally ventured into Her Majesty's Theatre to see Phantom of the Opera - and it was truly excellent. I can see why it has run for so long. The orchestra, costumes, pace and story are all quite wonderful and memorable. I would go again..


My only complaint, the standard of other members of the audience. Come on folks.....mobile phones on after curtain up, cardigans over the balcony, talking and rustling of food wrappers during the performance - shame on you all!

hirsol

I wanted to see The Phantom of the opera since quite a long time and I could finally manage to have the oppotunity in London. It was a great musical. The acting and their skill as a singer were fantastic. I and my two daughters enjoy the play very much. I would like to see once again when I visit in London next time.

Nikki

The first time I saw Phantom in London I was dragged along by 7 of my friends and mostly went for the meal and drinks beforehand, but it isn't exaggerating to say it changed my life. I fell in love instantly with the heart-wrenching storyline and beautiful music. I've been back over 10 times since, and watched the film countless times, but I still shed a tear for his dark fate. Sceptics, romantics, everyone... Watch this.

Pelin

I have booked the tickets from Stalls, I and my friends had a pole in front us. Obviously, we weren't really comfy about it. Also I wanted watch Phantom of the Opera based on the reviews I checked online. To be honest it is not 4/5 or neither 3/5. I found it too slow. I depends on your taste to be honest.

Sang

A classic that never gets old I have now watched The Phantom of the Opera on five different occasions and each time there is something new about it. Although some may find it cheesy, it is perfect for hopeless romantics and the rush you get as the music starts when the chandelier goes up is unforgettable. There is never a moment where it feels boring and the level of chemistry between the cast (especially Carlotta-Piangi and Firmin-Andre) is an absolute delight that always get the audience cracking. All in all a definite must if visiting London, and even if you're a Londoner it's a definite delight!

Valerie Baker

The cheesiest of all shows with an abundance of decoration and hyperbole that fails to cover up the the fact that the songs are utterly banal and just don't add anything to this old Warhorse of a plot..The much lauded Sarah Brightman may have had the voice but was a complete failure as an actress,I saw the show some time ago and never felt any desire to return.Much better shows have been and gone.

David

The Phantom of the Opera has never been on my list of shows to see but I ended up in the Royal Circle of Her Majesty's Theatre last Wednesday evening accompanying two out-of -town guests who wanted to catch it while in London. To my surprise it was really enjoyable and a lot of fun. The cast and orchestra sounded magnificent while the show was a great spectacle. The set changes and scenery were very effective considering the small stage. Think the (near the front) Royal Circle seats gave a great view too.

Cath

A fantastic show. Never fails to amaze me even after the fifth visit!

Manuel Alonso

Fantastic!!! This is the second musical I've been to (the other one was wicked), and I couldn't be more happy. The performance was brilliant and I'm still hearing the "Mascarade" song in my head!

Ian Vicary

Have always loved the music since it was issued in 1986 always wanted to see the show live and did so on the 25/10/13 and can say that it was excellent. The stars of the show and orchestra were excellent and brought the hold thing to life and was entertained beyond my dreams for the entire show.

miha

I seen it twice! (one was not enough). Really amazing opera! must see!!!

Alex Odlin

We found a great deal through Time Out; - two seats in the middle of the Stalls which were heavily discounted (less than a week until the show). We'd never seen this show before so went with it as we were looking for something to do on a Thursday night in London.. It didn't disappoint.. A very moving a dramtic production, highly entertaining. Thank you!

Leah

Absolutely amazing, the performers were all dressed in exquisite costumes and sang their hearts out. We loved the props and the way it was done. It also was lovely to see it in a smaller theatre. I would definitely recommend it

Dawn Woods

Over the last 10 years or so my husband & I have been up to the West End to see several musicals & have never been to see The Phantom 'til yesterday. I have to say that although the performers were magnificent, sadly it left me cold! We left the theatre not 'buzzing' but a little deflated. I would have rather spent the money revisiting Les Mis or The Lion King!!

succubism

The show certainly has its haters, but if you see this you will almost definitely not regret going. The music really is something special and the soprano who plays Christine is always eminently talented. Every friend I've taken to see it has become obsessed afterwards, but maybe that is because I only choose people with good taste as my friends.

brian

wary of the opera content beforehand but brilliantly done. scenery great, singing excellent. we had a group of teenagers sitting in front of us, with one constantly messing,on the phone and talking which totally spoiled our time otherwise it would of been 5 stars. a must see even if u dont like opera that much

Ze Eagle

I love musicals, and first saw Phantom a few months after it opened. I loved the first half hour (up to and including Music of the night). Then, however, it went Berg ab. ALW reuses the few themes there is, and the text is pathetic (I love her, does that mean nothing? asks the hero, disregarding the fact that the Phantom also loves her, which clearly means dick all to everybody). Last time I saw it there was even more reuse. Strangely the punters still come, which goes to prove what marketing can do. Gladens non disputandem, of course, but disregarding the commercial success it is simply not well made.