Base Entertainment Asia rolls out the hits. Cats. The Lion King. Phantom of the Opera. Matilda. Aladdin. Cats… The constantly changing audience of tourists, as well as resident musical fans, means that even on a Tuesday evening of a 7-week long run, this big hitting musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber draws a crowd that nearly fills the auditorium.
The show starts with a visually striking stage, with rapidly rolling set changes and dramatic lighting to accompany the iconic organ motif of the Phantom. The entirety of the show is set in the Palais Garnier Opera House, where a mysterious phantom disrupts rehearsals and performances alike. The dark, atmospheric scenes with the phantom juxtapose brilliantly against the operatic and deliberately ridiculous Opera House characters. This performance within a performance idea is done particularly well when the actors face upstage and a curtain opens to an imaginary audience where the cast bows proudly.
All of the vocal performances are strong whilst the dance is a little flat, as you’d expect from a musical which places such emphasis on it’s, well, music. The standout performance is the Phantom himself, played by Jonathan Roxmouth, who brings enormous range and power to the part without compromising on quality.
The theme song of the first half, Phantom of the Opera, is wonderfully 80’s with synthesisers, smoke machines, electric guitars and a cheesy journey through the bowels of the theatre. Whilst 80’s throwback is ‘in’ at the moment, this is raw, real and genuine. The show was first performed on Broadway in 1986, making it the longest running Broadway musical of all time. Is it dated? Perhaps it would have seemed so five years ago, but right now it’s on point.
More than 145 million people have seen it, in 37 countries. If you’re one of the people who have not, go and see this one. It’s somehow classic and current, visually stunning and brilliantly performed.