Phantom

Theatre, Musicals
3 out of 5 stars
Phantom

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The Paris Opera House is haunted – or so some believe. But when Christine, a young girl with an untrained but beautiful voice joins the company, she discovers not a ghost but a masked man whose obsession with her has terrible consequences.

The Phantom isn’t the only figure lurking in the background of the UK premiere of Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s musical adaptation of the novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It’s hard to ignore the shadow of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Since its 1986 debut, the British composer’s world-conquering spin on the same story has over-shadowed this one – which is a shame. In place of Lloyd Webber’s rock-gothic dazzle is a refreshingly human and affecting tale of love, loss and family.

Yeston and Kopit’s operatic music has some beautiful, intricate harmonies. By turns playful and evocative, if not packed with stand-out numbers, it is done justice by the fine-voiced ensemble gathered here.

Kieran Brown brings a winningly awkward vulnerability to the Phantom’s scenes with Christine, offsetting a weirdly petulant entrance. And Kira Morsley is delightful as the object of his affections: an enchantingly good singer and uncloyingly sweet.

The second half sags after a pacy first act, and the size of the venue is an issue in spite of some skilful direction and choreography. Dawn Kalani Cowle’s production deserves greater space in which to fill its lungs and really sing out.

By Tom Wicker

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