A while ago, I wrote about my love for the Phantom of the Opera. I also mentioned that I would finally see the musical in London this Summer. Well, despite what Game of Thrones says, Summer is here and two days ago, I finally attended Her Majesty’s Theatre to finally witness the show live.
Right when we left the airport, we made our way to Piccadilly Circus. After a short walk, we found the theatre and joined the queue for day seats. These are seats sold on the day of the performance for the afternoon show. Usually these are really good seats for a very low price. However, by the time it was our turn, the day seats were gone. It did not matter as we wanted to see the show regardless. We managed to book two front row seats in the Grand Circle for the performance of Saturday. We still had two days to wait so the excitement began.
In the following days we walked so much, I was exhausted by the time Saturday came around. After a short nap in the hotel room, we made our way to the theatre. It was raining, but that did not put a damper on our excitement. We were finally going to see the musical we loved so much. We entered the theatre and climbed the many steps up to the Grand Circle. I was happy with our front row seats, even though there was a railing in front of us. As I am quite small, I have a hard time looking over people’s heads. Now I only had to look over the railing to see the entire stage.
Her Majesty’s Theatre is absolutely stunning. It opened in its current state in 1897 and has been hosting the Phantom since 1986. Because of the balconies, some seats below them might have restricted view, but I was amazed at how beautiful the theatre was adorned. Not to mention the amazing set designs during the performance. It honestly felt like we had been transported to a Paris Opera House. I could not wait for the show to start.
The moment the actors took the stage, I was excited. They started with the auction scene, in which various props from the Parisian Opera were sold. Most notably a music box with a monkey on top and of course, the infamous Chandelier. The moment the Chandelier was illuminated and the first notes of the famous themesong filled the theatre, I was mesmerized. A part of me was nervous too, because this is a story I had loved for so long. I knew it would take a lot for me not to like it, but still. Luckily there was no need for me to worry. From the first moment up until the very last, I was in love. During the performance, I had a hard time to not sing along. I was on the Grand Circle, pretty high up, but I found myself leaning over the balcony, longing to be closer. There was so much to see and experience that seeing it just once isn’t enough.
The Phantom of the Opera is Here
While I loved the entire cast, I was eagerly awaiting the moment the Phantom took the stage. And when he finally appeared in the mirror, I was hooked. I found myself looking forward to all of his scenes. I think Ben Forster deserves all the praise he is getting for his take on the role. While I’ve seen some actors emphasise only a certain part of the Phantom, whether it is the anger and dangerous nature or the fragile part, I think Ben managed to balance it all perfectly. He made me believe in this broken man, yearning for love. Not to mention his incredible vocal talents.
Celinde Schoenmakers as Christine was an absolute delight. Not only because she is a fellow Dutchie, but because she is an incredible vocal talent. Her voice did not falter a single moment. Besides, she brought so much spark and personality to the role of Christine. She was an absolute joy to watch.
Also all the credits to Nadim Namaan for actually making Raoul a likeable character. Honestly, I never liked his character before, but now I actually do. Which is great.
I think that the leading actors can either make or break a musical or play, but in this case they definitely managed to elevate the play to incredible heights. Sadly the current cast will be changed on the 4th of September, so if you do want to see them before then, make sure you book a trip to London as soon as you can.
It’s over now the Music of the Night
Days after the show, I still found myself humming the songs to myself. It is easy to understand why this incredible story has touched the hearts of many and continues to do so. While earlier film adaptations portrayed the Phantom as just a monster, the musical version is more true to the book by Gaston Leroux. It is definitely a musical you should have seen at least once in your life. Now excuse me while I go belt out those high notes I will never be able to hit.