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A filmed production of the musical 'Miss Saigon' for its 25th anniversary, performed live at London's Prince Edward Theatre, in London's West End. Including the 2hr 20minute production and a bonus 35-minute "25th Anniversary Gala" which included stars of the original cast, Jonathan Pryce, Lea Salonga and Simon Bowman.
Jon Jon Briones,
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In 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera arrived on the West End stage at Her Majesty's Theatre. Fast forward 25 years and Phantom has achieved global success, millions of viewers, a film adaptation in 2004 and a musical sequel. Now viewers have the chance to experience this phenomenal show right from their own screens. Filmed at the Royal Albert Hall, this stunning performance brings the show to a bigger stage and celebrates its role as one of the biggest shows in theatre history, with speeches, performances and appearances by the original cast and some of the show's most notable Phantoms, including John Owen-Jones and Colm Wilkinson. Starring Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess, Phantom tells the story of a deformed musical genius who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House. Shunned by society, the Phantom seeks revenge in cruel and often violent acts. The Phantom is in love with chorus girl Christine Daaé and has been secretly training her to replace La ...Written by
Everything you can possibly want for a musical production, and more
The Phantom of the Opera is one of my personal favourites, and for me easily Andrew Lloyd Webber's best musical(though I do have a soft spot for Joseph). Anybody who loves The Phantom of the Opera will fall in love with this Royal Albert Hall performance, and while I didn't hate the 2004 film as much as others did this performance is a huge improvement. The costumes and sets are sumptuous and exquisite to look at. The camera work allows you to admire the production design and does so unobtrusively, often it has a very cinematic look which I loved without feeling overblown. The sound is resonant and clear, giving the feeling that you are actually there at the ROH watching it live. The orchestra give the score the powerful sweep it should have, a great thing in itself as it is one of those musicals where every song works. The chorus enunciate clearly and have a vibrant and carefully-blended sound. The stage direction is hugely compelling all the way, you are thrilled, terrified and moved to tears throughout and you do empathise with the characters and are fully engaged in Phantom and Christine's love-hate relationship. Nothing feels overdone or stillborn, you do miss the falling chandelier set-piece but at the same time you can understand considering the venue why it wasn't done. The singing is fantastic, embracing the somewhat exposed- from my experience having performed at ROH with various choruses at 3 Christmas concerts, one concert as a guest choir and 2 prom performances- acoustic.
Ramin Karimloo is an incredibly powerful Phantom, imposing in stature, somewhat scary, somewhat seductive and very affecting, and he has a gorgeous voice, one of the most beautiful of anybody in the role in my opinion. His make-up is genuinely hideous, and Music of the Night is really heartfelt. Sierra Boggess' Christine is alluring, charming and her stage presence is as moving as Karimloo's. Her soprano voice is bright and lyrical with no breathy sound(despite some of her breathing having a gasping quality), and I personally prefer her high notes to Sarah Brightman's finding them much clearer. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again had me weeping buckets. Raoul is I agree more abrasive than usual, but Hadley Fraser still sings beautifully- especially in All I Ask of You- and doesn't forget to act. All the supporting roles are filled solidly, but I want to really credit Kiera Duffy, she is every bit the Prima-Donna diva Carlotta ought to be but displays also a sympathetic and vulnerable side that I have rarely if ever seen from past Carlottas, most of which are basically caricatures. We are also given the bonus of having the likes of Sarah Brightman, John Owen Jones, Anthony Warlow and Colm Wilkinson performing, Michael Crawford doesn't sing but it was still a pleasure to see him. I was less taken by Peter Joback, it is a rather a lightweight sound and sounds rather nasal, a sound that is not very easy to warm to. But he isn't enough to bring down the performance in any way because everything else is so good. The appearance also of Andrew Lloyd Webber himself was also very touching. In conclusion, amazing, if you love The Phantom of the Opera this is everything you could possibly want and more.
10/10 Bethany Cox
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