Review: Phantom of the Opera, Bristol Hippodrome

30 05 2012

The Phantom of the Opera opened to enormous success in 1986 and has proved enduringly popular ever since. 25 years on, the question is, can Phantom still deliver? At the Bristol Hippodrome, the answer is an emphatic yes with the famous story of a beautiful opera singer and a young composer shamed by his physical appearance continuing to wow audiences.

John Owen-Jones’s portrayal of the Phantom, with an aggressive tone of voice and dominating presence, undoubtedly rivalled his predecessors in the role. He successfully struck fear into the audience while manipulating their empathy, closely guiding them emotionally through his tale of anger and heartache.

Katie Hall was perfectly cast as Christine Daae; the tormented female lead trapped between the mystical memory left to her by her father and the realism of a safe, protected life with Raoul.  Her voice had a beautiful tone, exceptional range and encompassed the contrast of fragility and strength without compromising on power.

The whole performance was captivating, with excellent comedy moments from Andy Hockley and Simon Green, and ballet routines beautifully choreographed and delivered.

A particular highlight in this co-production overseen by theatre titans Cameron Mackintosh and Matthew Bourne, was the Masquerade scene which was delivered and constructed with clever use of mirrors.

The journey to the depths of the Phantom’s lair was also staged brilliantly, and, coupled with the devilishly enchanting music during the scene, epitomised the shadowy existence of his character. The infamous chandelier incident, although perhaps not as dramatic as in past productions of the show, is nevertheless still a spectacle to savour.

A thrillingly constant move from despair to elation was achieved by successfully heightening the suspense. And although the story of the Phantom is well known, the ending always comes as a shock, and this performance reached an intense finale comprising of complex melodies and crescendos, and suitably emotional acting.

That Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical has been staged in more than 140 cities worldwide is testament to its astonishing popularity and a quarter of a century on, The Phantom of the Opera never fails to impress.

Review by Emily Holloway

The Phantom of the Opera is at the Bristol Hippodrome until June 30. Click here for more information.


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2 responses

30 05 2012
Pat Seymour

saw Phantom last night-absolutely brilliant! John Owen-Jones is an amazing Phantom, the set was great as were the costumes!

12 06 2012
Steven Crump

Stunning! Quite simply the best theatre experience I’ve ever had. Katie Hall and John O J led a brilliant cast, the singing, set, orchestra, dancing, costumes, direction… everything came together to captivate and enthral, without a moments loss of pace or suspense. I LOVED IT!

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