Perfomance: The Phantom of the Opera
Performance Type: Musical
Location: Majestic Theatre, New York
Date: 8th September 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
Over the past few months I have been enjoying and immersing myself in the world of live theatre and performance. I’ve been to see plays, concerts, and musicals, and really enjoyed the variety of shows I have watched. So, after reviewing just one of these (The Killers Wonderful Wonderful Tour Date which can be viewed here), I have decided to review each theatre trip individually. And because we all like an alliterative title, I’m going to call it ‘Theatre on Thursday’.
I was going to try and do this post every week, but life got in the way, so I have decided to do it as and when I remember. Last time round, I reviewed Two Gentleman of Verona, and it’s safe to say that this week’s instalment is pretty different.
The Phantom of the Opera is most definitely my favourite musical, so when Emma said she would like to see a Broadway Musical, and we found that The Majestic Theatre did cheaper ticket levels, we realised it was meant to be. I hadn’t seen it since the 25th Anniversary UK tour, and had never seen it in one of its purpose built homes, so couldn’t have been more excited. The Majestic Theatre is the US home to Phantom, a large Broadway theatre that has housed the musical since it’s opening in 1988 – incidentally making it the longest running musical on Broadway.
The show itself was really good, I would expect nothing else from my favourite musical and one that has lasted so long. The leads both had stellar voices, and the show itself was incredible. I have seen a touring performance in the UK a few years ago, but never watched a perfomance that stays in the same theatre. The illusions and the huge set pieces were amazing and really took the show to new heights for someone who loves the musical.
Now I’ve said the positives, we’ll take a negative turn. Yes, the show was really good, but if I am honest, it wasn’t quite as good as I hoped it would be. The voices were very operatic, which sounded amazing but didn’t always make the words as clear as they could be, and the leads lacked chemistry. Maybe they were having a bad show, not well, or they don’t click quite as they should do, but it didn’t gel like I thought it would do. I know all the songs, so the lack of clarity wasn’t too much of an issue for me, but for someone who doesn’t know every word and who isn’t as up on her Phantom like Emma, it did slightly hamper the enjoyment.
I had heard rumours about Broadway audiences being loud, rude, and generally unappreciative of the show going on in front of them. This is an absolute no no in the UK where audiences are impeccably behaved, don’t talk/cough/rustle/leave early. This just wasn’t the case when we sat in the Majestic. We were near the back, and if I am honest I am sceptical anyone around us really watched the show. I get there are a lot of tourists who just want to see a Broadway show (a little like us) but they were talking and laughing over the music and singing (which in itself is impressive during such a miserable story), rustling, opening, and eating food and drinks, and putting coats on and leaving in the penultimate song. We both commented on it a lot after, and while it didn’t ruin the show, it did take the shine off it.
I’m really pleased that I can say I have seen Phantom of the Opera in the UK and in the US now, and I am pleased that I can say I have seen a show on Broadway. It was absolutely worth the money we paid, but it wasn’t the best show I’ve seen and has made me think twice about going to see another show on Broadway.