The Phantom of The Opera by Broadway Across Canada
Until July 23rd
Epic new staging matches the overly dramatic score in the best possible way,
Phantom of The Opera is one of the most popular musicals in the world. There are some who considered it over-wrought and simplistic but there is no denying its impact on the musical landscape.
Personally I found myself with the naysayers, but this production actually changed my mind, because of the stunning new set design by Paul Brown with video by Nina Dunn and also because of the powerful performance some of the actors in particular Derrick Davis as the Phantom.
For those who don’t know the story; the setting is the Opéra Populaire, Paris in 1881 and the building has just been bought by Monsieur’s Firmin and Andre (played wonderfully by Edward Staude – what they don’t know is that the real owner of the venue is The Phantom. This ‘Angel of Music’ has become obsessed with a chorus girl named Christine Daae.
The sweeping score filled with Andrew Llloyd Webber ballads is as melodramatic as it is operatic but, now we have a set with round large walls that rotate, sprout stairs and sometimes spilt open to reveal rich red offices or a graveyard with large ominous stone statues.
The large staircase is gone from the only real up-tempo number – “Masquerade”- and replaced with much more choreography (Scott Ambler) on a gold and mirror ballroom set.
Mr. Davis as the Phantom embodies such dignity, pathos and rage that makes the character much more dangerous, tragi cyet still cautiously romantic.
I also really enjoyed the work of the conceited opera diva Trista Moldovan.
Katie Travis as Christine does grounded capable work but I would love to one day see the ingenue with a little more dynamic spunk.
This version is a little darker, hanging of the stage hand is abruptly shocking and the chandelier that the Phantom drops has some new tricks.
I wish the sound had been better as often lyrics were hard to distinguish but that said, I went in this production skeptical and left very entertained.
I think this re-imagined production is the Phantom lifts and illuminates the show in a dazzling new way.
David C. Jones