Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Love Never Dies

Wednesday evening was spent at the Adelphi Theatre seeing the latest Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Love Never Dies”. The show is the continuation of the story of the Phantom of the Opera and takes place 10 years after the events at the Paris Opera House.
With the help of Madame Giry and her daughter, Meg, the Phantom has moved to New York’s Coney Island and is now managing a Carnival Circus with various traditional side shows – bearded lady, Siamese twins etc. All of whom have welcomed the Phantom’s assistance as they have finally found a place of sanctuary. The Phantom, still in love with Christine, plans to lure her to New York so he can pursue her once more and the plot unfolds with various discoveries along the way.

'Til I hear you sing once more (subtitled)

The show itself is extremely lavish and, visually and creatively, on a par with Phantom. However the story and direction, sadly, let the show down. I found that it tried to take itself far too seriously, turning it from being an epic love story into an over the top, camp affair, full of desperation to tug on the audience’s heart strings. There was way too much angst and high drama to make the characters believable. That said I will, more than likely, see the show again to try and appreciate it more and focus on the music and lyrics.

Lee made a very accurate and amusing observation when he said that Love Never Dies included cameo appearances from Mary Poppins, The Rocky Horror Show and the Milky Bar Kid !

In Lloyd Webber’s and the Producer's defence I do think that the critics were extremely unfair on the show and just used it as a chance to have a go at Lloyd Webber. I will say that, although a little weak, it is still a show worth seeing at least once just to see what happens to the original characters and to appreciate the sheer spectacle of the show with all its magic and technical wizardry.

Although this is, obviously, my personal opinion of the show, I think everyone should be given a fair opportunity to make their own judgement as to whether it has merit. After all, plenty of people must be enjoying it as it is certainly still selling well and new productions are planned to open shortly in Australia, Toronto and possibly New York later.

Special credit, as always, to Stagetext who captioned both the matinee and evening shows on Wednesday, without whom we wouldn’t have the opportunity to see the show. It was also good to see that the staff at the Adelphi theatre were fully briefed for the captioning and extremely well prepared to assist patrons.

My only (and quite regular) bug-bear, which I know Stagetext always try their very best to address, is that, although it is very much appreciated that a lot of theatres make the effort to provide assisted performances, it is such a real shame that they tend to select relatively inappropriate dates, particularly with West End shows. I only hope that, eventually, the theatre managements will appreciate that people with disabilities also work, so weekday performances are not really that suitable as it means people outside of the area regularly have to take time off work to attend the shows. This problem could so simply be resolved by providing assisted performances at the weekend particularly Saturday matinees so that people can travel to the shows in their free time. At the end of the day, “joe public” have a choice of about 8 performances a week for most West End shows, whereas captioned performances only tend to be provided for about one performance every 6 months and quite often shows with relatively short runs don’t get captioned at all.

Anyway, go and see Love Never Dies. It’s certainly worth a look but do see Phantom of the Opera first. You can then fully appreciate the sequel. As long as you have an open mind, you should have an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

For further information about the great work Stagetext do, click on the logo above

(Photos and videos © of the respective owners of the material (Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Really Useful Group, Stagetext et al)

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