The last two months have been chocker with some of the best festival fare we’ve had for some time, constant and generally all good stuff. With all that behind me I’ve popped back into the theatre just in the nick of time to persuade my keen musical theatre friends – do not miss Love Never Dies which is in its last weeks so please be quick.
This newly imagined Australian version of the latest Andrew Lloyd Webber creation is a heartbreaking love story set in the colour and excitement of Coney Island, New York. It’s a truly spectacular night in the theatre!
Love Never Dies continues the story of The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. OK, you may have read the story is not without problems and yes that’s true in as much as its ten years since we last saw the Phantom and his angel of the music Christine Daae and yet they are both younger. Look just do as I did – give yourself over to the magic of the theatre and you will be rewarded with an evening that will stay in your heart and mind for a very long time after.
Directed by Simon Phillips, with spectacular set and costume designs by Gabriela Tylesova and choreography by Graeme Murphy, Love Never Dies was the winner of 3 prestigious 2010 Helpmann Awards for Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design and Best Lighting Design.
You will literally be on the edge of your seat for the first 20 mins that just never let up in drawing you into the world of Coney Island and the people who inhabit it; its “my god look at this” on top of “wow have you ever seen anything like it” on top of “holy shit how fab” – you will be amazed.
This then breaks away to the first meeting of the Phantom and Christine after she has arrived in New York for a concert engagement. Here the lovely melodies of the piece and some of the finest singing I’ve heard for some time send shivers down your back as the emotion and heartfelt sadness of their love engulf the audience. Both Ben Lewis as the Phantom and Anna O'Byrne as Christine are sensational, it’s little wonder Lord Webber wanted their performance captured for ever on DVD.
It’s fair to say that all of the principle players are excellent and very well cast, but I have to mention the wonderful Sharon Millerchip who has one of the best roles an actress could wish for in musical theatre and at times she comes close to stealing the show.
We are left at the end exhausted from the entire spectacle and drained from all the emotion, it’s a very satisfying experience and we cheered like hell!
Only playing until April 1 means you should get to it here and now.