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Customer Review

on 20 November 2011
A marvellous production of Phantom. The music, the acting, the set and design. Not much to talk about as most watching will already know the production.

The cast are excellent with one of my favourtie singers, Ramin Karimloo, booming as the Phantom. I was in love with Michael Crawford's original interpretation but Ramin's voice puts the role into a different class. As good as Crawford is, this guys voice is perfection.

I watched the production at the cinema for the live streaming and was very impressed by Sierra Boggess. I would recommend judging her on the whole package as the CD sometimes makes her sound a bit off but when you watch it you realise why as there is so much emotion in her performance that she is crying through her lines. Again, I have never liked the voice of Sarah Brightman and it was always a turn-off for me when listening to the OST. Sierra is brilliant as Christine and really works well with Ramin and Hadley as her two suitors. The relationship with Ramin was also helped by their work together on Love Never Dies (which I saw them both in at the Adelphi Theatre), the disappointing West End sequel to Phantom only saved by the quality of these two performers.

Hadley Fraser probably impressed me most as I already knew what to expect from the two leads, having seen them impress in the roles before. I saw Fraser as Javert in Les Miserables at Queen's and he was the stand-out performer. There are some reviews which say it is 'Javert does Raoul' but I think the more assertive side of Hadley's characterisation actually works better for the role. In fact I am surprised that so few have done this with the role before. Raoul can be such a weak and wet character but Hadley really gives the Phantom a rival and this makes the dilemma all the more plausible for Christine. Great performance, and a great voice to boot.

The orchestra are massive starts in this as well with fine playing and huge power. There are certain disappointments in the production, although I admit the staging in the Royal Albert Hall gave restrictions. The biggest of these is that the chandelier doesn't crash down. I was waiting...and waiting..and waiting. All that happened was that they wired the chandelier with pyrotechnics and let them blast away at the end of Act I. Again, I am sure they were restricted but it is such an important moment in the show and is one of the enduring iconic moments for which it is remembered. There is also an excessive use of digital screens (again restrictions were there), which was what I didn't like in the staging of Love Never Dies.

The other main disappointment was with the lack of extras. The movie (a visual spectacle with poor vocalists) had amazing extras with the old music videos, making of and a documentary about the original producion lasting 60 minutes. All we have here is a short 15-minute backstage pass to the production. It's good, don't get me wrong, but they could have done so much more. There was a great programme about the show on Sky Arts, which I think could have been included on the Blu-Ray disc at the very least given the space on them.

Having said all this, the sheer scale and joy of the music is enough to warrant this 5-stars. You must watch this if it is the last thing you do.

Anywhere you go, this should go too!
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