Theatre Review: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Continues To Captivate
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The Phantom of the Opera has returned to our shores, and proved once more why it is such a timeless masterpiece!
One of composer Andrew Llyod Webber’s most well-known musicals, The Phantom of the Opera has been enchanting ears and captivating audiences since it opened on the West End in 1986. An elaborate tale of love and obsession, Phantom is known for its iconic songs, grand set pieces and stirring performances; and has grossed over $6 billion worldwide!
Having only watched Phantom through our TV and laptop screens previously, and after hearing the passion of the cast members, we were excited to experience its grandeur live – and Phantom definitely did not disappoint!
The set design was magnificent and costumes beautifully intricate – you’ll find yourself marvelling at the kaleidoscope of colours during Masquerade, holding your breath as Christine and the Phantom traverse his underground lair, and entranced by Raoul and Christine’s star-lit rooftop duet during All I Ask of You. Don’t forget – the extravagant chandelier! Combined with lighting and effects, this allows to have an amazing immersive experience that complements the performances by the cast.
If you had to sum up the main theme of Phantom in a single word, it would be obsession. The all-consuming passion The Phantom has for Christine; the possessiveness Raoul exhibits towards Christine, a dramatic love triangle where she is caught in the middle. And perhaps that has not aged well in the time of #MeToo and the fight for gender equality.
We felt chills run up our spine during The Point of No Return, as the Phantom took his “revenge” for Christine falling in love with Raoul, and dancing with her in a seductive duet. Gritted our teeth as he rose up from the dark, seemingly watching Christine’s every movement, the stage lighting and design fantastic in highlighting his sinister nature.
But we have to say: Jonathan Roxmouth, donning the mask of the titular Phantom, brings out the Phantom’s human side with his captivating tenor; the raw emotion in his voice heart-wrenching as you almost feel the pain of how the Phantom was left self-loathing for years after being a freak show captive for his disfigured face. While not the strongest Phantom we’ve heard in terms of vocals, there is a deliciously dark undertone to Roxmouth’s voice that spellbinds, just as his presence is a charismatic one.
Meghan Picerno, who plays Christine, is no impressionable ingenue. Trained in opera and with powerful soprano vocals, Picerno offers a stronger interpretation of the normally naive character; portraying Christine as being a fighter and unafraid to stand up against those that are set to control her. We absolutely loved Picerno’s interpretation of Christine; a much-appropriate update for our current societal climate, and one that she performs amazingly!
We also enjoyed Matt Leisy’s performance as Raoul – an often overlooked or disliked character because he can be seen as bland and spoiled. But Leisy charmed us with his charisma, creating an easy-to-like Raoul who only wanted to protect the woman he loves.
The rest of the cast are amazing as well, with Beverley Chiat’s powerful soprano vocals and hilarious performance as Carlotta; Curt Olds and James Borthwick leaving us giggling with their haplessness as stage managers Andre and Firmin, and Melina Kalomas (Madame Giry) the picture of severity.
Spectacular set pieces, riveting performances and wonderful interpretations of classic characters… Whether you are a long-time fan or new to the world of musical theatre, this run of The Phantom of the Opera is something you should not miss!
The Phantom of the Opera is playing now at Marina Bay Sands Theatre, until 8 June. You can get tickets here.
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