Watched the new DVD of "Love Never Dies" last night. Fantastic production but very different from the concept album that I'm very familiar with and also different from the London production I saw a couple of years ago.
Great casting of The Phantom and Christine, perfect for portraying who they have become in this story but I was none too sure about Meg Giry, supposedly Coney Island's "Ooh La Lah Girl". Raoul and Madame Giry seemed about right and the freaks who serve as narrators of a sort throughout the story were wonderful.
While I was a little disappointed with their take on "Devil Take the Hindmost", in which The Phantom did not seem to be goading Raoul quite enough, I thought their interpretation of "Beneath a Moonless Sky" and "Beauty Underneath" were amazing!
Fabulous sets and costumes really seemed to capture the essence of the story and the subtle updatings of The Phantom's wardrobe made more sense, I thought, than the London production where he seemed to be dressed exactly the same as he was in Paris ten years previously - a very different time and place.
Some interesting changes to the plot cleared up some of the less plausible aspects of the original story and filled in a few plot-holes while only managing to create one new one which I thought was fairly good going. I was interested to see that some of the lyrics remain the same but are now sung by different characters in different contexts whereas others seem completely re-written, retaining only the tune and the basic theme of the originals. There was also much more use of refrains and "samples" from the original "Phantom of the Opera" to which this is a sequel. The London production did this too but with different pieces at different points in the story and to a much lesser extent. In the original, the only repeated tunes are "Little Lotte" and "Twisted Every Way" where Christine reflects on her situation.
Over all, I would give this production a 9/10 with the only things preventing it getting full marks being the casting of Meg which made it harder for me to get involved with her part of the story and The Phantom's lack of relish during "Devil Take the Hindmost". I would definitely recommend this DVD and now I'm off to watch it again!
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