'Love Never Dies' was probably the most eagerly anticipated production in London this year. It is a sequel to one of the most successful musicals of all time: 'The Phantom of the Opera'. Again composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, this time the story takes place ten years later in Coney Island with the Phantom, Christine, Raoul, Madame Giry and Meg Giry all returning.
Lloyd Webber has written a score appropriate to the time period and place evoking the glory days of Coney Island. There are melodies in 'Love' that will be compared to those in 'Phantom' which is no problem because they are good and new songs. Christine’s big aria is now the title song rather than “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”. In lieu of the “Prima Donna” ensemble number, a quartet of “Dear Old Friend” is performed by Christine, Raoul, Meg and Madame Giry. Instead of “Music of the Night”, the Phantom has “Till I Hear You Sing”. Lloyd Webber even infused a rock number "The Beauty Underneath” performed by the Phantom that will be compared to the original’s title track.
There are some other lovely melodies especially “Look With Your Heart” for Christine and her son Gustave. Yes in this sequel Christine has a son ten years old and you can see it from the beginning who is the child’s father. Frankly I don’t remember a love making scene in original.
One difficult aspect of the show is the musicality of Madame Giry. Liz Robertson who portrays Giry has retained the same harsh tone of voice as characterized in the original which does not make for pretty singing.
As the leads, Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo are in excellent singing form and are entrancing in their big numbers. Meg Giry, portrayed by Summer Strallen, is really a secondary female lead. She has the fun numbers in the production as she peforms songs in a Coney Island show. In particular she has one cute number where she miraculously changes from bathing suit to bathing suit in seconds.
One could say the set design is muted compared to the striking set design in the original. But what was done nearly 24 years ago would probably be cost prohibitive today. Instead the ingenious Bob Crowley has designed a flowing masterpiece using forced perspectives to depict the Coney Island vista and curving designs to depict the Phantom’s lair and Christine’s apartment. The production design is helped by animated screen projections which are often breathtaking especially in the opening.
|Photos used for illustration purposes only.|
In 'Love', like in 'Phantom', a time slip device is used where Madame Giry recalls the glory days of Coney Island. We go back in time to find the Phantom still longing for Christine. Raoul is now a drunk and a gambler and has lost his fortune. Christine is hired unknowingly by the Phantom to sing a grand aria in the states and she agrees as she and Raoul need the money. After the events in the original, Meg and Madame Giry smuggled the Phantom out of Europe and helped him to build his entertainment empire in Coney Island. With the arrival of Christine, the tension between them all leads to conflict, jealousy and serious consequences.
Note: I will see the production again next week Monday. Look at my forthcoming post on 09/20/10 for additional musings on the production.
- Website: loveneverdies.com
- Where: Adelphi Theatre, London (Tube: Charing Cross)
- When: Mon-Sat 7:30pm; Wed & Sat 2:30pm
- Running Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
- Ticket Prices: £25 - £67.50
- Opening: Mar 9, 2011 (previews from Feb 22, 2010)
- Closing: open
- Book online: seetickets.com
- Book by phone: 0844 412 4651 (no booking fee)
- Cast Recording: Love Never Dies 2CD or Love Never Dies Deluxe Edition 2CD/DVD set available.