Wishing I was somehow here again!
On Saturday 22nd June I returned to Her Majesty’s Theatre for my birthday and what a show it was! All of the cast were incredible! So Lets dive in shall we?!
WOW, I LOVED Tim as the Phantom! I’ve seen him once before with Amy back in October where he was still fairly new to the role and loved his Phantom then but my god has he improved!! Tim portrays the role SO WELL! When I think of the Phantom I tend to think of the crazed mentally damaged man who has this fixation on Christine and would do anything to get close/get her to love him even if it means murdering/torturing people, rather than seeing a sad and lonely man as some others do (can you tell I’m a Raoul girl? 😂), all that being said Tim was perfect in the role, PERFECT! He managed to portray the Phantom as I had never seen before! He portrayed the madder side of the Phantom SO SO well, I cannot explain! The acting was incredible, ESPECIALLY in The Final Lair, he really showed the deranged side to the Phantom whereas others I have seen before have maybe backed down from going ‘full psycho’ Tim went full force and it was incredible! Another thing I love about Tim’s Phantom is his voice! It is such a strong and powerful voice, especially in moments like The Final Lair and the end of the All I Ask Reprise where he can go full force, and then his voice is softer and smoother in moments like Music of the Night and the line “Oh Christine” during Stranger Than You Dreamt It. Unless you see Tim’s Phantom you probably won’t understand how perfect he is for the role but in my opinion both vocally and the way he portrays the Phantom, Tim is the perfect Phantom! Make sure you see him before he leaves in September!
Ok, a little bit of backstory with me and Phantom before we get into Kelly’s review! I have to admit I had little to no interest in POTO (I think the word Opera put me off!) before seeing Kelly’s West End Live performance with Ben Lewis in 2018, looking back now I see what an idiot I was but I fully credit Kelly for giving me my love of the musical! Having seen the amazing Amy Manford the other 4 times I was excited to see another take on Christine! Let me tell you Kelly did not disappoint! She was incredible! Her version of Wishing was outstanding! One thing I did notice was that Kelly was perhaps stronger vocally whereas Amy is a little softer and ‘floaty’ as Christine, It depends what you expect and want but personally I LOVED both of them and wish I could see them perform the musical at the same time because WOW what a duo they’d be! As mentioned above I loved Kelly’s performance of Wishing, her vocals and portrayal of emotions were incredible! As you should know Wishing is Christine’s real turning point in the musical and where she turns into more of a woman which is always a great moment, with Kelly although still naive and insecure I felt that she was a bit more sure of herself than Amy’s Christine, again, I loved both versions and wouldn’t be able to choose between the two but it depends on what you want in a Christine! I also loved her chemistry with both James (Raoul) and Tim (Phantom) although she loves Raoul you could tell that she cared deeply for the Phantom especially at the end of the song Stranger Than You Dreamt It where Christine gives the Phantoms mask back and then in All I Ask you really wanted her and Raoul to be happy and away from the torture that the Phantom gives them in act 2. In this performance I really felt like I didn’t know who I wanted Christine with, although I am a Raoul girl at heart, I loved Kelly’s chemistry with both of the two guys! Overall I loved Kelly as Christine! She was amazing in every aspect! And certainly lived up to all the hype surrounding her Christine!
I also want to give a quick mention that this was technically Kelly and Tim’s third performance of the day! In the morning they had West End Live where they did the title song and Wishing, then they had a matinee and then the evening show! Which was incredible! I hope they got some rest after because they certainly needed it!
Yes! Another Raoul I get to see! If you’ve been following my blog for a while now you know that I love me a Raoul and am firmly on Raoul’s side in this whole musical (except perhaps the end of the Notes reprise)! So I love whenever I get to see a new Raoul! Wow! James was incredible! The Raoul understudies are SO strong! Firstly I have to point out that James was the first Raoul I’ve seen do the trap door version in the Final Lair! I knew it was a thing but I had never seen it! When I saw James was on I was wondering if I’d see it as he hasn’t had any leg injuries that I’m aware of like the other two Raouls and to my amazement, I got to see it and I loved it! Another thing I loved about James was he had such strong vocals! I always love and rave about All I Ask but Kelly and James together were just INCREDIBLE! It wasn’t just All I Ask where I loved James’ vocals, I loved him in both Wandering Child and the Notes reprise! Like his vocals were incredible and I don’t know how to get across how much I loved his Raoul! As quickly mentioned above I loved his and Kelly’s chemistry it was so innocent yet so strong! If you couldn’t guess already I LOVED James’ version of Raoul! I really hope I get to see it again soon!
As you know I love when understudies are on and I managed to get to see not one but two! First being James as Raoul, the second was the lovely Hannah Grace as Carlotta! As I said above the Raoul understudies are SO strong, as is Hannah Grace as Carlotta! Whilst she was very different from Kimberly’s portrayal I still loved her! When I say different I mean she played the role more serious and more typical diva-y than Kimberly does, which was nice. I always love seeing different peoples take on the characters rather than just the same old principal performers every time. Hannah has amazing vocals! Especially during the Hannibal cadenza and Prima Donna! I felt with a more serious take on Carlotta the rivalry between her and Christine was heightened in moments like the Notes reprise which was great to see! From her rivalry with Kelly to her romance with Paul who played Piangi, again if you know me by now you know my love for that duo! Whilst more serious they still managed to make me smile and laugh! Overall I loved Hannah’s more serious take on Carlotta and would be happy if I get to see her in the role again!
Speaking of Carlotta and Piangi here’s Paul Ettore Tabone! I LOVE this man as Piangi! Love! He is so humorous which I love to watch! He makes me laugh so much! Not only when he’s the centre and the focus but I love watching him in the background during moments like Carlotta’s Think of Me and his background moments during both of the Notes variations! Not only is he hilarious but he’s got some pipes on him! Although we don’t get much of Piangi and even less of him having main vocals I always love what we do get! Because Paul is amazing vocally! I especially love the start of Don Juan before the Phantom takes over! You really get to hear Pauls vocals! I know Piangi is never the character people focus the most during the show but if you get to see Paul make sure you watch him because he is just as incredible as all of the other characters! As said above in Hannah’s paragraph I loved his chemistry with Hannah! I know I probably sound like a broken record by now but Piangi and Carlotta deserve a spin off musical! I would love to just watch them day to day and see what they get up to! By now I don’t have to tell you how much I love Paul’s Piangi! But in case you’re new here, I love Pauls Piangi! 😂 Really hope I am able to see him again in August!
Moving on to Alan Vicary and Ross Dawes as Monsieur Andre and Monsieur Firmin! Who doesn’t love these two lovable idiots! One of my top songs from this soundtrack is Notes/Prima Donna! It is so upbeat and full of comic relief which I adore, always love hearing “far too many notes for my taste and most of them about Christine, all we’ve heard since we’ve came is Miss Daae’s name!” it just makes me laugh! These two work so well together as a team! I always love seeing them distract from the somewhat more serious tones of the musical! Whilst the characters aren’t the brightest pair, they are certainly one of my favourite pairings!
Time to move on to the only performer I’ve seen each time I’ve seen POTO! Jacinta just is Madame Giry at this point! She is the PERFECT person to play the role, even when you see her at stage door you’re like, “yup, that’s Madame Giry”. She is such a graceful person from the way she holds herself to the way she walks and even sings, you just know that she must have a lot of dance background, and if she doesn’t I will be incredibly shocked! Along with Piangi and Carlotta, I wish we could get more Madame Giry backstory! She is just such an interesting character! From her relationship with her daughter Meg to her backstory with the Phantom (which is shown more in the 2004 Movie if you want to find out more!). As mentioned she has a daughter called Meg, I LOVE seeing Georgia and Jacinta together, they do such a good job of portraying mother and daughter! I just feel lucky that I’ve seen Jacinta so many times because I love her so much!
Last but by no means least! Georgia Ware as Meg Giry! I always adore seeing Georgia as Meg! There is always something about her that makes you watch her! Especially during Masquerade! She is such an INCREDIBLE dancer that you cannot take your eyes off her! As well as being an incredible dancer she is also such a good singer! She has this lovely sweet and soft tone! Just wish we got to hear it more! I love seeing Megs relationships with people such as her friendship with Christine which is so sweet and pure, as well as her relationship with her mum! Meg is probably my favourite character outside of the typical top 3 that people would normally say, Angel of Music was my first favourite song from the musical so I have always had a soft spot for Meg as a character! I just love everything about Georgia’s Meg and like all of the others on this review hope I get to see her again in August!
With this being my 5th time to the show I am able to watch all of the background actors whilst still knowing what is happening centre stage and I have to give a quick shout out to something which made me smile the last two times I’ve seen it! Ellen Jackson who plays the wardrobe mistress! (most seen in Hannibal/Think of Me) looking for her dropped needle after Carlotta being a diva made her drop it! It’s small I know but now I’ve seen it I always watch it!
I can’t wait for August to be able to return to this incredible show!!
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katy Panayiotides2nd July 2019
Wow great write up! And how lucky are you with a cuddle from Tim?
sally little2nd July 2019
Great review Molly, your enthusiasm makes it enjoyable to read
and makes me want to go again!
Jacky3rd July 2019
A really interesting review Molly- can’t believe how many times you’ve seen the show! And how do you manage to get photos taken with the stars? I really think you should come and see local musicals and write reviews for the newspapers or City Times. I bet they would print them!
Lynda5th July 2019
Molly, your reviews are written with such honesty, passion and enthusiam. I love the theatre with my favourite being Les Mes’. I have always been a bit hestitant and unsure on whether I woukd like Phantom of the Opera, I think it was the ‘Opera’ being in the title that put me off too!
However, your passionate review has spiked my curiosity and as a result I have purchased tickets for my family and myself to see later in the year.
I remain excited! Thank you 😁