I went to see Love Never Dies last night – for those of you that haven’t heard of it, it’s the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1980s hit musical The Phantom of the Opera.
Previous to going along I had heard mixed reviews, not surprising considering the fame and acclaim Webber received for the original. I have seen Phantom quite a few times (three times on the stage and countless times on film) and of course listened to the music so many times, so my expectations were pretty high. Personally though – I loved it! LOVED it!!
I’m sure there are some more musically talented people out there that could critique Webber’s composition on the new one more thoroughly but I thought the composition was great and the cast had amazing voices. The musical style was similar, as one would expect for a sequel, but only one small part of the original score was repeated in Love Never Dies.
I won’t go into too much detail on the storyline so as to not ruin it for anyone who is interested but it won’t hurt to tell you Webber has moved the setting from gothic 1920s Paris to the dazzling Coney Island in New York a decade later. Over the 10 years the Phantom has made a life for himself in a world of freaks and weirdos populating the sideshows on Coney and Christine and Raoul are bound for New York for Christine to perform her final show.
The set design was incredible; really playing on that art deco meets the new world theme and drawing in the playful freakiness of Coney Island in the 1930s.
And I wouldn’t be painting a full picture if I didn’t tell you about the costume design, one word sums it up – amazing. It was all so cleverly done – the visual tricks for the freaks and the carnival style costumes for dancing girls and of course glamorous dresses for Christine.
I can see why there have been mixed reviews – with something as famous as Phantom its only natural that people would have played out future scenarios for the plot in their own minds and some may have been surprised by the developments in many of the cast’s character (I was most surprised by how Raoul turned out). One of the friends who came along with me said the music wasn’t ‘as memorable’ as the original, but how could it compete? Give it 20 or 30 years and maybe it will be. At the end of the day though, if you have an open mind and like a romantic storyline this is one to see!!