REVIEW: The Phantom of the Opera

 

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 4 - The Company performs Masquerade - photo by Alastair Muir

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 4 – The Company performs Masquerade – photo by Alastair Muir

The Phantom lurking beneath the Paris Opera House gets new life as Broadway Across Canada welcomes Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera in Edmonton! We were there opening night, and it is as amazing as ever, with a few new punches to make it feel new.

The buzz is prodigious: “The new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “phenomenal musical success,” is part of a brand new North American Tour.  This Phantom features a brilliant new scenic design by Paul Brown, Tony Award-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award winner Paule Constable, new choreography by Scott Ambler, and a new staging by director Laurence Connor. The production, overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh, boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score – with songs like Music of the Night, All I Ask Of You, and Masquerade is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour.”

The Phantom of the Opera is Here!

And it is all of that…just what you imagine when you picture a splashy musical. The costumes are opulent, the voices are beautiful and the story is familiar and beloved. Much of the music feels timeless (although honestly, I felt the organ/electric guitar in the overture were a bit prog-rock for my taste.)  I had been warned quite sternly by my 8 year old not to sing along during the performance–good advice, really—but I found it difficult not to hum quietly at certain junctures.

My elder son was my date to the performance, and he quite enjoyed it, but I was very relieved we had elected to leave the 5 year old at home. The creepy tone of the show is set from the beginning with an auction in the cobweb-covered opera house before transporting the audience back in time to when the story is set. We witness a rehearsal of the opera Hannibal, complete with a diva singing to the head of a recently decapitated tyrant. They ham it up and the head is very obviously a prop, but it was still quite grotesque and not what a parent necessarily wants her kids to witness.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 1 - Derrick Davis and Eva Tavares - photo Matthew Murphy

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 1 – Derrick Davis and Eva Tavares – photo Matthew Murphy

Further on in the play the Phantom uses a noose on a stagehand and again on Raoul, the fiance of the Phantom’s unrequited love, Christine after he kidnaps her.  At on point my son leaned over and asked “Is this appropriate for kids?’  to which I had to give a very non-committal, “Wellllll, ummm…”

I was worried there might be nightmares to deal with after the spooky show, but he seems to have processed it okay. The show did lead to a good discussion about how the way people are treated can cause real consequences in their lives.

All in all, I am glad I brought my son, if just for the launching point of the discussions, and insights from my boy like: “He thinks they are treating him bad because of the way he looks, but really they are treating him bad because he is a psycho.”

So, should you bring your kids? There is more violence in it than I had had anticipated, so keep that in mind, particularly if you are hoping to bring your younger kids. But, as always, you know your kids best, and the show is so much more than those few scenes. You will love the spectacle, that much is sure!

The Phantom of the Opera Contact Details:

When: July 26-August 6, 2017
Time: evening shows: 8 pm (Sunday evening: 7:30 pm) matinees: 2 pm
Where: Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Address: 11455 87 Ave.
Phone: 1-855-985-5000 (Ticketmaster)
Website: www.BroadwayAcrossCanada.com

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