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London 13/02/10 7.30pm

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London 13/02/10 7.30pm Empty London 13/02/10 7.30pm

Post  Aled_Boyo Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:11 am

The Phantom - Scott Davies
Christine - Gina Beck
Raoul - Simon Bailey
Carlotta - Rebecca Lock
Firmin - Barry James
Andre - Gareth Snook
Madame Giry - Nicky Adams
Piangi - Andrew Keelan
Meg - Emma Harris

Alright guys, I'm exhausted pale However, I thought it might be a good idea to post my thoughts before I forget anything, so here it goes. Mainly things that were new to me / notes on individual character details... enjoy!

Act I
Complete shivers! I hadn't been in almost 3 years, so I kind of lost it a bit! Very good old Raoul from Simon, very sickly (coughing, clutching his chest). Overture sounded fantastic; my first time since the new sound system had been installed. You can really hear every little nuance and the added percussion is great. I'd never heard the high-hat beat that ran through it before, really gave it a sense of urgency. And those drums at the end rock!

Think of Me
Gina Beck, well, what can I say? Stunning to look at and listen to. Great nervous acting to begin with then just soared through the rest. Amazing cadenza, the last note seemed to go on forever. Huge applause.

Angel of Music
Pretty standard, to be fair. The harmonies were excellent though. Emma Harris has a nice, clean voice. It doesn't rattle like some Megs from the past. Re: Nicky Adams. Not much presence, I must admit. She's not bad. I mean, she can sing and act very well. I just think she's too young to play someone of such superiority. She seems a little soft.

Little Lotte / The Mirror
Great to see that fizzing chemistry between Gina and Simon. The whole 'childhood sweethearts' thing comes across very strongly. After ''Raoul, it is you'', they almost kissed, then pulled away, and suddenly the scene became quite intense. Simon did his ''I know'' ad-lib.
Scott Davies. I must admit, when I saw his name on the cast board, I was a little disappointed, because I was looking forward to see what David Shannon had to offer. But as soon as those first lines boomed from behind the mirror, I was like, David who!? Scott is brilliant. Such a rich timbre in his voice. A lot of growling and hissing, but in all the right places - a true 'old-fashioned' Phantom. He looked so ghostly in the mirror, going for the still, spectral angle. Not much movement. Gina did a good job of falling under his spell as he sang ''I am your angel...''. Simon said ''What is that voice!? Who is that in here?'' Don't know if it was meant or not.

The Phantom of the Opera
Someone mentioned before about the hesitation there is this scene now, and yes, I agree, Gina does look back a lot and even walks away from him during certain lines. It's nice, it mixes up the scene a little. Amazing voices, both. Scott's voice is very operatic and powerful. He also does a good job in 'guiding' the candelabras to the side and bringing the portcullis down, but more on his hand acting later. Wonderful cloak twirl! He did it 3/4 facing the audience, so he did a sort of semi-spin as he flipped the cape forward onto the bed. Very cool. And his stance after his final ''SING!'' was great too, his right leg bent and his arms up, like, almost cocky, like he was saying 'I'm in control here'. But with such elegance. I was very on-board with his Phantom by this point.

Music of the Night
Absolutely stunning. Scott's got such an effortless quality, so you never feel nervous about any of his 'big' notes. The whole song was sang perfectly. He's old fashioned but with a clear, crisp delivery, like somewhere in-between Peter Karrie and John Owen Jones. His diction is brilliant and his acting during this scene was just mesmerizing - admittedly, I didn't pay attention to Gina because I was transfixed by Scott, but I'm sure she was great!
He sang the first verse sat down, which was interesting. He then got up and very slowly made his way closer, all twisting hands and pulling motions; the hand acting must be noted here. You really believed that he was controlling Christine, like he had her under his spell.
Leading up to the second bridge, he stayed on the portcullis until the very last line. It was only just before the 'be' he leapt forward to deliver that amazing note. Twas a good 'un.

Stranger Than You Dreamt It
Nothing too special to report here, I'm afraid. It was a good scene, Scott didn't go over the top. The Phantom's vulnerability came to the surface quite nicely, tweaking the end of her dress on ''Oh Christine'', almost like a child.

Magical Lasso
Stephen John Davis. What a revelation! So sleazy, like you could tell Buquet was really getting a kick out of scaring those poor girls, haha. I'd never noticed that huge synth chord right at the start of the scene. It was like something out of a bad horror film - really suited SJD's vibe, though.

Notes / Prima Donna
The scene started with Firmin laughing out loud at the newspaper, which was new to me. Barry James plays it for laughs - his Firmin is a borderline alcoholic! He's always swigging from his hip flask and swallowing the end of his sentences. His ''written'' got a huge laugh.
Gareth Snook has the potential to be a great Andre. He's a bit quiet, but very charming and a bit of an old smoothie. Both worked their comic chops here (synchronized stepping was spot-on) and both were in fine voice.
Rebecca Lock. Wow. What an incredible voice! She was brilliant in this scene, note perfect. She's a very beautiful, dignified Carlotta, which makes a change. Of course, she mugs and screeches when needed, but most of the time she's quite elegant. Andrew Keelan, although a great singer, lacks the gravitas of most Piangis. I think he's quite young though, isn't he? Maybe if he was a bit bigger - physically and verbally - it wouldn't be as noticeable. It's a shame, because like I said, his vocals are wonderful.
Simon Bailey was quite active during this scene, always pacing up and down, studying the notes. I've never bothered to look at Raoul in the ensemble scenes before, but Simon's got a fierce energy that always catches your eye, and that (IMO) is one of his best qualities - he makes the character INTERESTING.
'Prima Donna' got a massive round of applause, so much so that the intro to the next scene was slightly delayed and loads of people got up thinking it was the interval!

Poor Fool
Good: Rebecca Lock's throwaway utterance of ''Your part is silent, little toad'' followed be a huge false smile; Gareth Snooks' silent mouthing of 'the ballet' to the audience as he rushed off; Scott's evil laugh; Tim Morgan (Don Atillio)'s pelvic thrusts - dirty old man!
Bad: Barry James' swigging from the bottle, post hanging-Buquet. By this point it was getting a bit tired. Sorry!

The Roof / All I Ask of You
I'd never noticed the wind SFX before, but that could be my poor memory. AIAOY was nice enough. Great harmonies, very big, lush movements from both actors. Couldn't ask for anything more. I thought it was a bit weird that Simon didn't look at her when he sang ''I love you'', but there you go.

All I Ask of You Reprise
Sad. Very sad. Hinted at more of the despair to come... yeah, very heartfelt. It was near perfect. Again, he didnt over do it, and he laughed at the end too! Hadn't heard that in a while from a London Phantom.

Act II
Masquerade / Why So Silent?
Big, colourful, amazing to look at - just how i remember it. There was so much going on, can't say if I noticed anything new. I probably did, but I always get swept away during this scene. Everybody was fine. Scott was very menacing.

Notes / Twisted
''Our Don Juan must lose some weight''? Nah, don't think so. Still got a pretty big laugh, though. As did Rebecca's ''Eeeeeeere's our little flower''.
Gina was great to watch in this scene, going for crazy, but not silly crazy. She taps into a slightly disturbed side of Christine's character here, like, she's losing her mind in ''this, the Phantom's opera''. She was crying her eyes out and breaking up her words. I genuinely felt a little uncomfortable and sorry for the poor girl. Bless. Her ''I can't'' was barely audible.

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
Amazing voice, so raw in a lot of ways and not a single note out. Gina's got an amazing range of emotions and can carry them all through her voice. She can act the *beep* out of most leading ladies too. By this point she was slowly becoming my new favourite Christine. She really rattled those cemetery gates. Again, huge applause - some people even whooped and whistled! It was a fantastic performance, so credit was due.

Wandering Child
Scott, Gina and Simon make a wonderful trio, I must admit. I think I remember someone saying about Simon's voice drowning out the others during this bit - I can see where they're coming from, and while he didn't exactly eliminate the other two, he does put a LOT of effort in. It's a bit distracting, as it's supposed to be a three-part harmony. But it didn't affect things majorly. It still sounded beautiful. When Scott sang ''I am your angel...'', Gina closed her eyes and sobbed, like she was saying 'I can't fight this anymore', and it was only when Simon ran in that she snapped out of it with a very frightened and confused ''Raoul!'' I love how much she's obviously thought about every emotional possibility and how to deliver the lines in a very human way.
Scott's a subtle fireball man. Only a few shots, just enough to cause a little mild peril. Makes the big kaboom a lot more effective, I think. Also, he whimpered a little as he said ''No, don't go!'' Again you saw the more desperate side of the Phantom coming out, like he was losing the battle and losing control of his emotions, too.

Point of No Return
My favourite scene! It didn't disappoint, let me tell you. A lot of sensual movement, a LOT of touchy-feely. Voices were outstanding. There was a great bit where Scott grabbed her wrist on the line ''No use resisting'', but he spoke it, and Christine shot him a look, as if to say 'that's not Piangi's voice'. I loved that. And they were literally trembling by ''when will the blood begin to race'', it was such a highly charged scene. It was the standard feeling of the mask on the cheek that gave the game away. The unmasking was terrific; Scott let out a painful moan, like he'd just been punched in the gut or something. It was brutal.

Down Once More / Track Down This Murderer
DOM was one of Scott's highlights, I thought. He sang it completely out of control, and his hands were going mad, wrenching and running up and down all over the oar. His ''*beep*'' was amazing. Then he switched to sorry, pitiful mode and ''Christine, why?'' was delivered through splutters of tears.
And so, we came to the end. Beyond the lake. Christine an in first and fell to the floor straight away. Scott then came in and picked her up on ''(snarling)wallow in blood'', and she let out a little scream.
Ah, Simon Bailey's ad libs. Hehe, I'd heard about these. The first was right after ''let me see her!'' - punching his palm and letting out a huge roar of frustration (which completely drowned out ''Be my guest, sir''). Some excellent rope acting followed. I hate it when Raouls just stand there's a bloody noose round your neck, y'know!? Good effort, Mr Bailey. The spitting was present, as were a load of grunts and moans in-between lines. Also, an extra ''Christine, go!'' just before ''the tears I might have shed...'' Scott grabbed her face during ''start a new life with me'' before throwing her to the floor - scary! It was all pretty straightforward then until the mob descended. Scott's ''go now'' lines were quite tame, he didn't raise his voice that much, although he did chase them out very quickly. Instead of the bellowing, he just curled into a ball and just rocked back and forth saying ''leave me, leave me, leave me'' over and over until he broke down into a crying fit. It was brilliant. So different. Another lovely touch was when Christine came back, he turned around and swept his hair back and smoothed down his jacket, like he was trying to look presentable, one last time. So sad.
But not as sad as Gina and Scott looking at each other the entire time as Christine left in the boat - that was horrible! She didn't take her eyes off him until the very last ''each night / each morning'', and it was then that Scott turned around to sing that one, last beautiful line.

All in all, it was an amazing trip back to her HM's. I thoroughly enjoyed this cast and urge everyone who can to go see them. Scott and Gina are definitely up there among my best. Simon is great - he makes the best of what he has to work with. I've always maintained that Raoul, in some ways, is a harder role than the Phantom to play, if you want people to like you. I like him a lot, and its true what people say about him and Gina, they really sparkle.

Scott for principal! (Still want to see David, though, just out of curiosity.)

Any questions, I'll be happy to answer. I'm sure I've left loads of things out, so they may come back to me if there's anything specific you guys would like to know.

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Post  starryeyed Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:59 am

Fantastic review, lovely to hear your thoughts.

I agree re: Barry James and the hip flask. He is very inconsistent with it I have been to shows where it makes an appearance almost every line, shows it doesn't appear at all and shows it comes out at the right moments. If he over does it it really does become really tired after a while.

And Andrew Keelan is pretty young I think, he looks it in the headshot anyway.

Oh it is Tim Morgan who plays Don Attillo! I have seen him do the hip thing once, and I once see him pick something up and throw it away with his cane - I really like him in that scene.


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Post  operafantomet Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:14 am

Oh, this was such a fun review to read! Mostly because I very much agree with it, it's just how I remember the cast I saw in December.

One big difference, though: Scott Davies. I saw David Shannon. Scott Davies sounds FANTASTIC!! I like your comments about his being "old school", cause to my ears that sounds like he has a certain age and style combined with a brilliant voice. I also like your comments about his acting. I never saw him when he first did the role (but read lots of positive comments). When he left I never thought I would have the chance to either. Now he's back. Somehow I MUST see him. Anyone knows how long he's staying?

As for Nicky Adams as Madame Giry, I actually found her too strict... But I agree that singing and all that jazz is good.

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Post  MasqPhan Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:48 pm

Thanks so much for writing up that review! It was well written.

I saw Scott back in 2000 and had hoped that someone from here would go and see him. He sounds every bit as wonderful as when I saw him in his original run.
I definitely pegged him as an "Old School" Phantom too and that's one of the things that drew me to him. He was such a good actor and loved his use of his hands. Very expressive.

Anea you really have to see him if you get the chance.

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