Reviewed by Richard Lane.
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart, The Phantom of the Opera is the G & S Society’s current production of the longest- running show in Broadway history.
Enormously experienced director David Sinclair, has produced a show which from the opening auction scene, intrigues the audience as it opens out into into a dazzling theatrical event.
The central plot in its simplest form, involves the beautiful soprano Christine Daae’s (Serena Martino-Williams) almost fatalistic obsession with with a mysterious, dark and brooding composer, The Phantom of the Opera (Adam Goodburn) who is a horribly disfigured musical spirit, living in the subterranean labyrinth beneath the Paris Opera House. Christine is in love with tenor Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny (Jared Frost).
This production is a tribute also to Musical director Jillian Gulliver who achieved a theatrical ambition to do this show, which includes the now-famous hits such as The Music of the Night and All I Ask of You.
Director Sinclair also designed the set which underwent many changes,( performed slickly) from the dark, foreboding opening scene to the underground bowels of the Paris Opera Theatre, home to the Phantom.
Technology played its part too in the design, for example, in the rather frightening scene in the mausoleum, where the Phantom threw flaming fireballs in mockery of Raoul.
The Ensemble were well- disciplined, and the ballet chorus under choreographer Jamie Jewell danced sweetly except for the occasional “first night nerves.”
Performances were excellent, with Adam Goodburn as the Phantom a standout. His powerful tenor, coped beautifully with the demands of Lloyd Webber’s difficult score and Serena Martino-Williams was delightful as the puzzled Christine,torn between her feelings for Raoul and her subjection to the Phantom. Jared Frost (Raoul)was steadfast in his love for Christine and there were many other good performances particularly David Visentin (M. Gilles Andre) and Rod Schultz(M.Richard Firmin) who worked well together as the two new theatre managers. Monique Hapgood was successful as the hapless and comical figure Carlotta, Kaylene Graham was a dignified Madame Giry, and as her daughter Meg, Jessica Muenchow was strong in her role.
From The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and Patience, to The Phantom of the Opera, the G&S Society has a hit on its hands. Bravo!