Finally!!! The day where I got to go ‘Down Once More’ to Her Majesties Theatre! This was the day I had been waiting for since lockdown started in 2020..and especially after we came SO close to losing this wonderful show. This was an extra special night as it was the opening night of the New (ish) production of POTO! It was incredible!! Whilst I did have my fears of them possibly ruining the show I have loved for years, I think all the new and slight changes to the show enhanced rather than ruined it. Whilst I’m a reviewer, I go to shows to watch and enjoy myself rather than to pick it apart…unlike all the ‘experts’ around us…just go to enjoy it rather than to complain about the new updates…which again weren’t drastically different and definitely didn’t take away from the GRAND spectacle of The Phantom of the Opera. That being said it felt so special and so magical to be in that building on opening night..almost as magical as the incredible cast…
First up we have Killian Donnelly as The Phantom who was incredible! His version of Music of the night was one of the best I had ever heard, he made it seem so effortless. His voice was so smooth throughout yet gruff/angry when the moment needed him to be like in The Final Lair. The goosebumps I got when we got to The Mirror part where he appears for the first time were insane… I thought he had really great chemistry with Lucy who plays Christine which SHONE through in the Final Lair especially. Killian’s performance of the All I Ask reprise was hauntingly beautiful and the applause he got at the end of the first act was immense. Overall I thought Killian was an incredible Phantom and I cannot wait to see how he improves as his run continues.
Next up we have Lucy St Louis as Christine Daae, she was PHENOMENAL! Truly something special. Not only was it about time we had a POC in a major production of Phantom but she was one of the best Christine’s I have ever seen perform the role! You could tell that she was living her dream and having the time of her life on that stage which shone through in moments like Masquerade and Think of Me. Her performance of Wishing You Were Somehow Hear again was so powerful yet so heartbreaking at the same time….it’s rare that you get the perfect blend of those two but Lucy made that blend seem effortless; and the last note she did? INCREDIBLE, You could feel all the emotion in every word that she sang which made it extra special. I thought she had really great chemistry with Rhys as Raoul, especially in the Rooftop sequence, that’s one of my favourite parts of the show and they definitely did it justice. Overall in the words of Meg Giry “Where in the world have you been hiding?”, Lucy was PHENOMENAL in this role and I cannot wait to see her progress and grow more and more confident!
Following Lucy, we have Rhys Whitfield who played Raoul who I wasn’t sure about at first (just like any Raoul I’ve seen) but I ended up really really warming to him by the end of the Little Lotte scene. I thought his vocals were incredible and just how you would like Raoul to sound…especially in both of the ‘Notes’ scenes as well as in the Rooftop sequence. One of my favourite Raoul scenes has always and will always be the Final Lair…I’m a sucker for all of that angst and drama, but Rhys and Killian really nailed that tension between Raoul and The Phantom during that scene which was amazing to watch…as heartbreaking as it Is to watch. I thought his chemistry with Lucy was spot on…and had more chemistry than some others that I’ve seen, the chemistry shone through in the Rooftop sequence which is probably why it’s one of my favourite parts of the show; I can’t wait to see them as they only grow their chemistry because that’s going to be amazing to witness. Overall I loved Rhys’ take on Raoul and I cannot wait to go and see him again soon!
Next up we have Saori Oda as Carlotta who was fantastic! She really made me wish we got more Carlotta within the musical because the moments we got with her weren’t enough! One of the standout moments of her performance has got to be the Hannibal scene, she came out onto that stage with so much stage presence and magical vocals…we knew we were going to be in for a treat. I loved how humorous she was in moments like Notes/Prima Donna or Notes/Twisted Every Way or even Think of Me, she really made it HER role and it was so fun to see that. I also think she had great chemistry with Greg who plays Piangi…I enjoyed them as much as Christine x Raoul and wish we got to see more of them! Overall I think Saori is one of the most iconic Carlotta’s yet and I cannot wait until I get to see her again!
It’s only right that we follow Carlotta with Piangi, and we had another incredible and iconic performance with Greg Castiglioni as Piangi! Much like Saori, he was hilarious in this role and gave Piangi so much sass in moments like Think of Me and Notes/Prima Donna. Like I said I loved him and Saori together, they’re a real power duo on that stage and you feel that through their portrayals, I really wish we got more of a look into their relationship because they’re two characters you never get to know well enough and I’d love to know more about these wonderful characters. I thought Greg’s performance of Don Juan was vocally amazing and makes me wish we got more of Piangi in that scene! Overall Greg was another excellent addition to this cast and I cannot wait to see where he takes this role!
Next up we have Matt Harrop and Adam Linstead as Firmin and Andre. I LOVED these two in their roles! They fit so well into them and you could tell that they have a strong friendship offstage as well as on. Their performance in Notes/Prima donna specifically was one of the best parts of the show, it’s one of my favourite moments but these two brought it to a new level which was amazing to watch! These two are two more that I wish we could get more information on because I want to know more bout how these two chaotic men thought it would be a good idea for them to buy and run the Paris Opera…Overall I think they were two more perfectly cast performers and I can’t wait to see them progress.
Following them, we have Francesca Ellis as Madame Giry who I also enjoyed in this role! It was a fresher take on Madame Giry which I was excited by. I wish they could have extended the scene between Raoul and Madame Giry at the end of Masquerade or added additional scenes, Madame Giry is an intriguing character who has the connection with the Phantom but they never go into detail in it and I’d love it if we could have gotten more information on that mystery…I know they go into it more in Love Never Dies but let’s be real Madame Giry has enough mystery for a whole musical just about her…I really liked Francesca’s mothering bond with both Lucy as Christine and Ellie as Meg, I thought that those bonds were well done and believable…cannot wait to see those bonds only grow stronger! Overall Francesca was another excellent addition to this incredible cast!
Finishing off we have the incredible Ellie Young as the lovely Meg Giry. Ellie was probably one of my favourite parts of the show, she embodied everything that a Meg should be and portrayed it with such ease and grace which is what drew my eyes to her whenever she was onstage but especially in big moments like Masquerade, my eyes were glued to her. I LOVED her friendship with Lucy…it was so happy and so smiley, you could tell that both of the girls were so happy to be there performing this incredible show and could tell that they have an amazing friendship. I ADORED Ellie’s vocals within the Angel of Music performance because they were exactly how you’d imagine a Meg to sound…like so many others I only wish that we could have gotten more of them! Overall I think that Ellie was the perfect Meg and I adored her performance!
Overall this was SUCH a special night and it felt fantastic to be back watching this majestic show in all of that brilliance…if you were scared about them ruining the show with all of the headlines floating about online don’t be! All of the changes to the set and everything in my opinion added to the extravaganza that is the Phantom of the Opera! This cast are Incredible and I cannot wait to go back and see them all very very soon!! Phantom is back and better than ever!
If you have read my review and like the sound of this amazing show you can get tickets here! -> https://imp.i108736.net/AoyD47