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Thursday 15 April 2010

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20th October 2008

The Phantom of the Hypera

Posted by: Kitten Power

The global hype that is The Phantom of the Opera is well and truly alive in Auckland. The nation’s b-listers were out in force for the opening night on Friday, as were non-lister I and my delicious girlfriend, both clad in cleavage-exposing cocktail attire (heels and all!) and feeling very femme.

It was a grand Auckland occasion. The front row was packed full of dull celebrities like Shane Cortese and Neil Waka, while Anika Moa was spotted looking as delicious as always in the foyer.

The feature that first grabs you as you enter The Civic Theatre for The Phantom is the merchandise. There is more merchandise than a Spice Girls concert. I can imagine devotees sitting at home wearing a Phantom t-shirt, blasting a Phantom CD while sipping tea from a Phantom mug and highlighting their favourite parts in the programme.

Ah but to the show . . . The Phantom began with the lovely touch of a voice over dedicating the performance to the late Rob Guest, who for many will forever be remembered for his defining performances in the role.

Taking centre stage as The Phantom this time around is Australian performer Anthony Warlow, who is reprising the character he first played in 1990. He has a stunningly dark voice and embodies the twisted opera haunter with ease, while New Zealander Ana Marina is sweet in the role of Christine. (Oh and boys - keep an eye out for the gorgeous blonde ballet dancer. You won’t be disappointed!)

But it’s the decadent props which steal the show, from the precariously swinging chandelier, the intricate candelabra of the Phantom’s dungeon, the bursts of flame and the mist-shrouded rowboat which moves just as if upon a dark lake.

However the props can only do so much and the story really just plods along, with the two most loved pieces of music, The Phantom of the Opera and Music of The Night, over and sung very early on. The story seems to lack intensity until the final heartrending scene, when Christine’s heart is tested and the poor shattered Phantom’s mask is finally lost for good.

If you love the music, go and see it. The deep, dark organ bursts will bang right into that shivery place in your stomach. But The Phantom of the Opera will be exactly what you expect, and no more.

Tags: General

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kyle McIntosh // Oct 20, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Well, now I think I appreciate why Kitten is a “Professional lesbian” and not a critic. 10/10 for not telling us anything we wanted to know about the show.

  • 2 Eddy // Oct 20, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Kitten Power, as somebody with “a hunger for new sounds” I can imagine why overall the Phantom of the Opera did not greatly impress you, although clearly, as you point out, there were a number of elements of it which did. Musically, it really is a lot of whirling sentimental nonsense, fake Puccini. So the sheep will enjoy it wholesale, as will all those desperate for sentimental old hat.

  • 3 Bebe // Oct 22, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Well, it’s obvious that “Kitten” is no fan of musical theatre, for as Phantom is the longest-running and most successful of all time, the masses clearly show the opposite of this *cough* “review”. No clear details of the show save the props and you obviously don’t quite understand what a force in theatre Anthony Warlow is. And with “the gorgeous blonde ballet dancer”? People see a show for the storyline, not to perve on cast members. Thanks for a shocking review, from one those who wears her Phantom shirt with pride.

  • 4 Kitten Power // Oct 23, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I’m sorry you’ve taken offence because I didn’t like a show you clearly love.

    Frankly, I didn’t include many details about the show as there was little about it, aside from the props and Anthony Warlow’s voice, that I found memorable. But that’s just me and we all appreciate different things . . . I have seen musical theatre I have loved . . . however I am not going to like something purely because “the masses” do.

    I do appreciate the feedback . . . however I’m very curious as to what the heck a “professional lesbian” is? I certainly don’t get paid for loving women - nor do I have a degree in it!

  • 5 Tim // Oct 24, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    The problem, I think, is that most people have been too accustomed to the original soundtrack with Sarah Brightman and Steve Harley. When it was last here I was thoroughly dissapointed with it and hence didn’t really want to see it this time either.

  • 6 palmyboy // Nov 1, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Love Phantom but if you get a chance to see “WICKED” then thats a must see.

  • 7 Mr. Club Ivy // Dec 15, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Well, I must say that I totally disagree with when the reviewer said the story plods along after the famous songs.

    In the first act alone there are many moments when the Phantom makes his mark on the story. For example in Poor Fool He makes Me laugh, he hangs the fly controller and the music picks up with the famous Phantom tune.

    Also the violin harmonising in stranger than you dreamt it and the lyrics make that part come alive and show the pain of the Phantom. Yes that is a slow song but you can’t look at it on such a superficial level.

    All I ask of you - another famous song, perhaps one of the most in the show, not my favourite but the Phantom makes it up in the reprise when he sends the chandelier down from the roof.

    Act Two - Well the costumes in Masquerade were spectacular and the score is the beautifully written especially in the instrumental, it sends you flying the way it is written and orchestrated.

    Twisted every way was just amazing with the most amazing orchestrations plus the beautiful lyrics. Wandering Child also is spectacular, showing the confusion of Christen and the Phantom drawing her in and Anthony Warlow gets another chance to wow the audience with his superior voice.

    The darkness of Point of No Return was just chilling and when he gets unmasked the orchestra bursts into a flame of Andrew Lloyd Webbers most amazing score until Down Once More, then The Phantom gets to show the immense pain he is in and the rest is just gold. Sure the music may be slow but what do you expect, the entire show can’t be at the same intensity as the Overture or else it would be ridiculous.

    In a show, especially like this you have to look at everything especially the words behind the music and the orchestrations that make the lyrics take a deeper meaning. One violin to a full organ can make all the difference. All the characters made this happen too. Anthony Warlow played Phantom with such a deepness and intensity that made audiences shiver all around the world. The whole cast did really.

    So to say it the story lacked intensity is ridiculous and one shouldn’t be reviewing such a great piece of musical genius if you can’t see, hear and feel everything that it encompasses

  • 8 Mr. Club Ivy // Dec 15, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Also in reply to Tim’s comment, the original soundtrack was with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford, not Steve Hartley. That was some pathetic cover. The lyrics are somewhat different. The line in Steve’s version “you’ll give your love to me for love is blind” was gorgeous and I like that a lot but was contrasted by the frankly absurd line “the Phantom of the opera, your master mind”

    Yes I am a Phantom Freak and I know the score like the back of my hand, which some would call sad but hey when you’re talking about something like this who can blame me

  • 9 Kitten Power // Dec 16, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Fair enough - and thanks for your honest and well thought out feedback. I accept I was incredibly blase in what I wrote, simply because The Phantom didn’t grab me as much as it has obviously grabbed many others. I will leave musical theatre to those who love it!

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