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Phantom of the Opera at the Birmingham Hippodrome

April 15, 2013

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of “The Phantom of the Opera” is the most successful piece of entertainment of all time, produced in any media, and its success is continuing all over the world. The box-office revenues are higher than any other film or stage play in history – including Titanic, ET and Star Wars.

The Phantom of the Opera has been produced in 150 cities, in 29 countries around the world, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and The United States. Playing worldwide it has been translated into no fewer than 13 languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Castilian, Hungarian, Dutch, Korean, Portuguese and Mexican Spanish.

I took my mother for her birthday last November to the Milton Keynes Theatre to see this particular touring production of the show. We have both seen the show already at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End on several occasions. We were both amazed by the design of this production. The touring production takes 27 articulated lorries to transfer the set between theatres. There is more movement and the story is presented with more clarity with each scene clearly defined by a scene change. We saw the understudies give exceptional performances. Olivia Brereton in her professional debut as Christine and James Bisp as Raoul.

I was very impressed by this UK touring production and to celebrate my 50th Birthday I had to see the show at the Birmingham Hippodrome. A theatre very close to both mine and my mother’s heart. Earl Carpenter has played the Phantom for more than 1000 performances in the West End and along with Ramin Karimloo is one of my favourites in this role. Great casting for the tour. This time we saw and heard Katy Hall as Christine Daae. She is absolutely phenomenal – what a voice! I loved Angela M. Caesar as Carlotta. Andy Hockley and Simon Green as Monsieurs Firmin and Andre were brilliant. The only disappointment was Simon Bailey as Raoul who was far too pompous. What a pity because his understudy James Bisp was the perfect romantic lead.

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