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Phantom comes to Mayflower

On a wet and windy Tuesday night in Southampton it was pleasing to see that the UK theatre scene is still very much alive. Now visiting the Mayflower Southampton and after a success story so far lasting 26 years, this new production of The Phantom of the Opera is now enjoying it’s UK tour, which curiously only includes four UK dates: Cardiff, Southampton, Liverpool and Birmingham and has already received rave reviews.

1 – ton is the weight of the Paris opera house chandelier; it comprises of 6000 individual beads, is 3 metres in diameter

2 Hrs 30 Mins - The time it takes to put on and remove the makeup from the Phantom, the same amount of time as the average show performance.

4 – UK cities will host the UK tour during 2013

15 – The number of languages the show has been translated into 26 – The number of years that the show has been

running, the same number of years that the Mayflower re-opened in its present form. 27 – The number of countries the Phantom has been produced in 28 – The number of articulated trucks that are used to transport the set between theatres 130 – The number of cast, orchestra and crew members involved in each performance 250 – Kilos of dry ice used in each performance 130,000,000– The number of people who have seen the show worldwide, the same as the UK and France populations combined together

This new production by Cameron Mackintosh was not without risk; after all if something is not broken then why fix it? Fortunately I needn’t have worried. As Cameron says in the UK Tour programme, it was around three years ago that Andrew Lloyd Webber and himself felt it was time to give the show a fresh look. They approached theatre and opera designer Paul Brown who’s visual ideas and development enabled many fans of the show to relive it in its original brilliance but in a in a fresh light.

I had wondered if such a large show on tour would live up to its billing as one of the greatest shows ever! As it turned out the intensity of the theatre and the superb sound quality really helped to enhance the performance. The lead Phantom for this performance was Earl Carpenter with Katie Hall as Christine. Earl’s West End performances include many high profile shows, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables and The Witches of Eastwick. Katie’s credits include Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables and some may even recall her as one of the final contestants in Andrew Lloyd Webbers Eurovision entry “Your country needs you”.

With the curtain raised, this shows grabs your attention from the onset and keeps you captivated right through to the end, the set is out of this world which like the actors seems to always be on the move. It was diificult to point out individual performances as one felt that everybody on stage and indeed back-stage had given it 100% - and it really showed. The music score is superb and aside from the well know songs associated with the show, there are many more in the show that keep this musical alive. Despite the length of the show which ran to nearly three hours, it seemed to end too soon and I was left wanting more.

34 Life Begins

Review by Brian Case

Phantom phacts...

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