Friday, October 28, 2011

The Phantom of the Opera @ Her Majesty's Theatre, London

I finally got to watch THE ultimate theatre of all time - The Phantom of the Opera!!!  Yeah, after years of listening with envy, of how spectacular the show was from hubs who had seen it many years ago in Singapore, I finally got to see it yesterday evening with hubs, the daughter and 2 friends.

The tickets were not cheap, but what the heck!  Don't know when I will get to see the  show again when I return to my homeland :). Check ticket prices here.

We drove to London and parked near Malaysia Hall.  After Maghrib prayers and dinner, we took the tube to Haymarket.  We actually had to make a mad dash from Piccadilly Circus tube station to Her Majesty's Theatre,  so as not to miss the show.  Thanks to Malaysia Hall's Roti Telur! :P.  Nasib baik they (both the show and Roti Telur) were worth it! :).

Her Majesty's Theatre appeared to be as old as Bristol's Hippodrome.  However, I think the Hippodrome is slightly bigger.  The auditorium was filled to the brim and it was pretty warm - not from the heating system I believe, but from the body heat of the anxious spectators.

We barely had time to make ourselves comfortable in our small seats when the show started.  And we were practically glued to our seats throughout the show.

The acting was superb.  The phantom and Christine turned out just like how I had imagined them to be - Christine, the sweet young girl with long curly locks; the phantom:  tall, dark and mysterious - played to perfection by John Owen-Jones and Sofia Escobar.  It's funny that whoever plays Erik the phantom would look the same.  It's the mask, I think.  Just look at Batman.  Whether it's Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney or Christian Bale, they do look the same in that mask! :D. On a different issue, Emmy Rossum who played Christine in the movie version is my choice of Christine.  Sorry, Sarah Brightman :).  As for the phantom, I have always thought that french actor Christopher Lambert would fit the bill perfectly.  But whether he can sing or not, is another story...:P

I enjoyed the songs very much despite not being a great fan of opera music.  I love "Think of me", "Angel of Music", "All I Ask of You" and "Music of the Night".  Come to think of it, ALL of em! :).  No offence, but I think they sound like those soothing Barbie movie songs... boleh ka?? :)  I found the title song "Phantom of the Opera", however, a wee bit too loud and I feel that some of the audience felt the same as I saw some subtlely pressing their forefinger to their ears.  Hubs however said that it was meant to be loud as the scene requires it to be loud and dramatic.

The props and the effects were simply stupendous. However, I was a bit let down by the chandelier.  I had expected the chandelier to be more spectacular, as it was after all, an important element in the story.

The movie scene where the chandelier crashed...

That aside, I loved the grand stairs in the masquerade party scene.  I especially marveled at the scene where the phantom was rowing his boat and candelabra suddenly surfaced from the 'water'.  Turns out, hubs have been wondering all these years how they do that.
"Trap doors", the daughter pointed out matter-of-factly :).  Well, not quite that simple, dear :P
A search on the internet revealed that the 'boat scene' is achieved using surviving Victorian stage machinery beneath the stage.  Wow!!

Another scene that baffled me and KKin was when the phantom and Christine were fleeing from their pursuers.  One second they were both running on stage and in another, they were both 'up there' running on the 'bridge'.  KKin and I were convinced that they used doubles, but KWan insisted that they were the same actors.  Yeah... some of the post-theatre discussions that we had in the car on our way back to Bristol... Hahaha!

All in all, I enjoyed the theatre so much that I am already planning to watch it again when it comes to Bristol next year! :)