There’s still time to catch the stunning touring production of The Phantom Of The Opera at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday, November 24.
‘Spectacular’ is a word that’s easily overused. But this Cameron Mackintosh production of the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber West End hit musical, overseen by internationally acclaimed choreographer Matthew Bourne, really is spectacular.
The set is superb, rotating between the glamorous theatre world and the dark underworld where the Phantom lives.
The costumes are gorgeous, the line-up of ballet dancers is superb, and the orchestra under the direction of Craig Edwards is excellent.
The shows three stars each received a standing ovation from the first night audience - and that was despite a few technical issues with the sound balance which, to my great regret, made it hard to hear the beautifully lyrical tones of Earl Carpenter’s Phantom during the quieter passages.
There was no such issue with Katie Hall in the role of Christine, who has a powerhouse of a voice for one so petite.
At moments, the very clever set is used to heart-stopping effect, as in Christine’s boyfriend Raoul’s descent into the underworld to find her in the Phantom’s lair.
Stair treads appear as if by magic from the sheer side of the set... and then creepily retract when he has passed over them - there is literally no going back.
Not to mention the gigantic crystal chandelier that swung perilously above our heads and ‘smashed’ to smithereens, realistically scattering fragments all over those beneath.
Although the show does contain scenes of great comedy, this is overall a dark and disturbing story, dwelling on the confused and uncertain emotions of a fragile young woman still mourning her dead father, as she yearns for a ‘normal’, healthy love with Raoul, yet is irresistably drawn to the ‘dark side’ as embodied by the Phantom.