The Phantom of the Opera

Theatre , West End Her Majesty's Theatre , St James' Until Saturday October 1 2016
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(45 user reviews)
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John Owen-Jones stars as The Phantom from September 7

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
Address: 57 Haymarket
Transport: Piccadilly Circus tube
Price: £20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins
Event phone: 0844 482 9672

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:28
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:1
2 people listening

Dramatic, dark and menacing tale of unrequited love, romance and obsession. A classic musical who's longevity on the West End is only proof of why this is firm public favourite which I believe will remain running for many years to come. Everyone knows the story of Phantom of the Opera. Seen the film, read the book but it's the musical that left the biggest impression on me. As soon as you hear the intro to the striking familiar theme song there is no doubt over what you are watching. The set design and whole theatre itself sets the mood and atmosphere. The most memorable scene when they are on a gondola within the mist amongst candles is a striking haunting image that you are unlikely to forget for a while. If you're observant and quick, watch out for Phantom run across the top of the stage during the interval. Cast are excellent, incredible and super talented. The music and songs are ultimate musical classics and you will be humming these for days afterwards. I would definitely recommend it as a must see.



So, I have wanted to see this musical for the last 10 years, ever since being introduced to it by a former flame, I was gifted the DVD of the film with the lovely Gerard Butler as the Phantom and was instantly in love.

But what I thought was wonderful in the film was absolutely incredible on stage! The stage design, the flawless singing of all the characters and the crescendos … oh man, I loved every minute. Any ALW fans who have not yet seen this, I guarantee that it will not disappoint and if it does, I think you may have gone to the wrong musical! Will definitely be going again and yes, I was that annoying person you could see in the dim light, mouthing along to EVERY word – I’m not ashamed to admit it!

Sarah R

What a delight! The Phantom of the Opera is cult musical that certainly lives up to expectations.

I absolutely loved beautiful Celinde Schoenmaker as Christine, her amazing soprano and stage presence are very powerful. Chandelier sequence and dramatic music make for really entertaining suspenseful moments, the production and set are held to high standards.One of my favourite things about Phantom are probably the costumes, which are very detailed, bright and bold, so balsam for the eyes. All songs are very catchy and you will find yourself humming to them throughout the next day.

Every Londoner should go see a musical at least every few months. It makes such a nice change to the routine.


Amazing production and such an intense show! One that I have been dying to see for years and it definitely didn't disappoint. A mesmerising old school love story which was shown in a way that I have never seen before and with such passion. The music was amazing, I will be sure to recommend this to friends which haven't already seen it!

Puking Pastille

There's something about Phantom that captivates me every time and this, my third time, was no exception. From the opening bars I was absolutely thrilled with the familiar set, music and superb cast. Ben Forster was incredible as the Phantom, giving an unusually emotive performance that really captured the complexity of the character. The actress playing Christine was also excellent. Some of the friends I went with who hadn't seen it before found some parts comical and, on reflection, it is rather dated but that doesn't take away from this timeless classic for me. If anything, the theatrics only add to the spectacle that I will continue to see again and again in the West End.

Adrian H

The shadowy stage looming ahead with its mysterious shrouded props… the unseen orchestra beginning to tune up in the pit… excited audience taking their places as the gilded plaster muses and nymphs smiled down from the ornate ceiling, having seen it all before… it could only be the anticipation of a performance of Phantom of the Opera, the musical score to end all musical scores in my opinion, and one that continues to be hauntingly beautiful and deliciously exciting even to this day.

The set was luxuriously astonishing and menacingly Gothic by turns as we journeyed with Christine to the Phantom’s labyrinthine lair, to the luxurious and yet yawningly cavernous opera house, to the melancholy Gothic resting place of her father, and down once more into the depths of the Phantom’s lonely existence.

What surprised me most was that, as well as the amazement and chills I expected to get from hearing the songs that have stood the test of time, and the score that continues to move and excite me, I felt an overwhelming affection during the moments of awkward creaky staging – the wobbly mirror that revealed Christine’s sinister angel of music; the Phantom’s swaying appearance in the frieze as he cursed the lovers and held on for dear life (as a lump of plaster fell off and hit the stage). I've always loved the Gothic romance and melodrama of this unrequited love story and this production and this cast lived up to expectation.

Phantom is a dignified old lady who, like all grande dames, knows full well that one should have some secrets and surprises no matter one’s age. It’s no wonder that The Phantom of the Opera continues to call to the hearts and souls of audiences around the world.

Kemi O

A fantastic production that was a little unexpected. The staging and set design were amazing. I was captured from beginning to end, and I would definitely recommend to others! Beautiful songs, wonderful acting and very romantic! I've never been to Her Majesty's Theatre, but it was as beautiful as the show! The only drawback was the limited leg room but the show served as a fantastic distraction.


A night at the theatre is one of the ultimate luxuries in London for me. I adore everything about it, with the exception of the limited leg room and the extortionate prices for the interval ice cream! And last night, thanks to TimeOut #Tastemakers I got to see, for the third time in my life, The Phantom of the Opera. The last time I saw it was in Vegas about 10 years ago, in a modern theatre void of any history or true theatrical elegance. Her Majesty's Theatre is opulent and grand and the atmosphere in the seats as the lights begin to dip is excited and expectant of a performance that will live up to the high reputation this show has.

Because i've seen it a few times before, the music isn't foreign to me, and so I was waiting eagerly for the opening bars of Music Of The Night, All I Ask Of You and Masquerade. I adore the score and this show is a wonderful example of why Sir Lloyd-Webber is the successful man that he is, though the most credit has to be given to the superb cast with a range of voices so beautiful they give you goose bumps. Celinde Schoenmaker who takes the role of Christine was simply outstanding. I lamented briefly for the West-End career I could have had if i'd actually paid attention in my singing classes as a child as her voice sent shivers through the audience. Ben Forster's portrayal of the Phantom's was haunting and powerful while Nadim Naaman's portrayal of Raoul was heartfelt and felt genuine.

Some of the songs don't have quite the same hook as the others. There's no mistaking the powerful organ opening of the title song (on reflection, a very 80's style opening, reminiscent of something MeatLoaf might have put out) but a few of the other songs just fell flat - I couldn't even give you their names, and sadly it did make the show drag at times.

The set design was, as ever, fantastic. The chandelier is always a joy and there will never be a time I don't enjoy watching the fog creep across the stage as the candelabras ascend from the floor. This is one of those shows so classic that I will happily return again and again to watch and admire. it encapsulates everything that is wonderful with the West End.

Ros A

I saw Phantom years back when I was a kid and I wasn't a fan - but I really enjoyed this performance. It's quite eerie and scary and the storyline is actually quite sincere (more so than many Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals). It tells the story of a Phantom haunting an opera theatre (no rocket science used to decipher that) who is in love with the new leading lady. It's dark, it's mysterious and it's creepy. It also has a strong antagonist who you can't bear not to pity, and a protaganist you sometimes dislike, so it's hard to know who's a goodie and who's a baddie at times. 

Most importantly though, the songs are fantastic and the set is fabulous.  'Music of the night' is a beautiful, beautiful song - and for that alone - if you've never seen this show, you must go. 

Sarah J

Phantom of the opera is another great musical that offers slightly cheaper on the day tickets; however be weary as these are quite far back (we got row R) were sights are restricted by the low ceiling / overhang. So certain scenes involving the chandelier for example - you don't really get the full effect. The performance is highly theatrical and spectacular but it is quite long, and at some points I found the singing just got a bit much. The actors and actresses conveyed emotions very well but I would carefully read reviews before booking tickets as I'm not sure if it's everyone's cup of tea.

Alison W

Beautiful voices, gorgeous music, visually stunning....go and see it. Really wonderful!


A classic that never dates. I could watch Phantom over and over again. I love everything about this long running west end staple 

Kirsty E

A wonderful timeless classic. Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite musicals of all time. Fabulous sets, awesome songs, beautiful costumes and a haunting intensity which continues throughout.

Romantic but dark like a twisted fairytale, the characters are extremely well cast and maintain their roles with a sophisticated elegance. Although at times the story is a little far fetched, it is easy to get swept away into believing the impossible.

If you haven't seen this show yet, make it your next booking!


I'm not normally a fan of the West End musical but this is a cut above.  The songs are well known and enduring and the singers do them justice.  The plot may be somewhat  incredible but it's so well acted and the sets are so good that it's difficult not to be drawn in.  Thoroughly enjoyable. 

Staff Writer

A must see for anyone who wants to go to the theatre. I'm not usually into all the lavish period drama and singing but this was amazing.

There's a reason it's been going for 30 odd years, one of the classics

Warwick W

I watched it for the first time 18 months ago - I thought it was amazing and I was entralled by the production. It's slick, but in a 1990's kind of way

If you still haven't watched it, it definitely should be on your bucket list!

Pavlos G
Staff Writer

The Phantom of the Opera is the best musical I've been to so far. The sets for each scene were extremely good. The performances from the actors were very convincing and the soundtrack was fantastic.

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 phones on after curtain up, cardigans over the balcony, talking and rustling of food wrappers during the performance - shame on you all!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!!


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.


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.