I was at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Haymarket last night, at The Phantom of the Opera.

10 years in London and I’d never seen it. I’d always been somewhat precious about it, knowing that it’s such a blockbuster, rather old, and very touristy. But this needn’t have put me off as it was very good indeed.

It’s been on stage for 23 years and, rather than getting staid and a bit tired, they’ve managed to finesse the show and the experience for theatregoers. The stage sets are breathtaking, especially ‘The Journey’ which is the ‘lake’ scene. Huge candelabras rise out of the ground through a dense mist of dry ice and the boat really looks like it’s on water. An amazing effect.

I’ve always enjoyed the music and also the more recent film. I know it’s hardly cutting edge theatre but it’s a wonderfully entertaining night out. It ended with a standing ovation and 5+ minutes of continuous clapping by the audience (comprised heavily of Americans and W.European tourists). And every night it remains completely sold out – amazing. They must absolutely rake it in, our tickets were £45 which were fairly decent (Royal circle, centre, toward the back), but this is much more expensive than most London theatre productions I’ve been to.

These days I don’t theatre or concert go as much as I used to. Sheridan’s employer used to maintain a box at the Royal Albert Hall and I was there for, among other things, the Last Night of the Proms one year and in 2006 for the Queen’s Birthday Prom – sitting in a box very close to that of the royal party. It was a memorable evening (not least because it was suffocatingly warm), but I also remember how tight the security was. Is a very surreal experience singing the national anthem when the sovereign and her party are in such close proximity.

The last production I was at was Sunset Boulevard, a few months ago, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. I’d never been before and didn’t even know the story. It was a much smaller production than the original Sunset and worked really well. I also saw La Cage aux Folles back in December which was good.

Walked past Hamlet last night on my way to Phantom and thought how much I’d like to go. Alas, it’s sold out I think. The last Shakespeare I saw was Macbeth at the end of 2007, starring Patrick Stewart. Was a mesmerising production, quite incredible. I need to go more, especially as it’s on my doorstep.

I still, really want to see something by Tennessee Williams on stage. Hopefully one day soon.

10 thoughts on “Phantom

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  1. I am so jealous!!!! Phantom is my fave. I saw it in Detroit, MI first and then in Toronto, CA….both excellent, but actually the Detroit was better. Could be because it was my first theater experience…I was on the edge of my seat for sure. I adore Shakespeare too, mainly the comedy’s. Sighhh I sure wish it was at my doorstep!!!

  2. Ack! Macbeth. I hated that play (reading it). Though I liked Hamlet much better!
    And I’d love to see something by Tennessee Williams on stage too! I had to read Streetcar and Menagerie my senior year and I don’t normally like reading plays, but loved those.

  3. I have to go to the theatre quite a bit for work – – and still enjoy it! But mostly small-scale productions – it’s rare for me to see a big block-buster production and I must say I’d like to. I like Tennessee Williams too.

  4. Debby – yeh, is a good production, isn’t it? I am lucky to have it on my doorstep. I moan about the West End and how horribly busy it can be, but it has big upsides too! Certainly a buzzy place.

    Enrico – this production was particularly good of Macbeth and got rave reviews. It was set in a Soviet bloc type setting. Incredibly good. The witches were sanatorium nurses, was very powerful.

    Mancais – what’s this with the name change? And you ought to go to the theatre, I bet Manchester has some decent stuff on?

    L – seems we all like him!

    Daphne – I think you go more than most people I know. Small productions can be sooo good. Is ages since I’ve been to something on the small side, again, mainly cos I’m in West End and they tend to be the big shows.

  5. We have the Manchester International Festival on at the moment. I think it’s partly as I don’t work in the city centre and after a day at work I simply can’t be mithered. We do ge things on that get good reviews so maybe I’ll make more of an effort. I certainly manage for football.

  6. I lurve Phantom! “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” murderz my soul with heartbreak, “All I Ask Of You” is one of the sweetest love songz eva and Christine’s crazy ass vocal acrobatz @ the end of “Think of Me” blowz my mind!

    I love the movie and I saw the musical last year. The scene where they are traveling on that river under the opera house (the picture you have posted) is so incredible! I’m glad to know that some people still appreciatez its genius.

  7. Mancais – yeh, lot going on in the city I would have thought. I also struggle to go into centre at weekends, but going after work is easy.

    Josh – I like all of those! I think Think of Me is my favourite. Love how she starts all timid and suddenly it transforms to her being in front of a full house!

    And how about The Music of the Night with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford – the two originals!

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