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London, 3rd July - Scott, Gina, Simon

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Post  Lycanthrope Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:00 pm

Considering I've seen this cast before and haven't revised my opinions on the principals (Gina is still fantastic, although she *almost* messed up the high note of TOM, Simon is a good, if sometimes slightly aggressive Raoul), I'll mainly concentrate on Scott in this review, whom I had the pleasure of seeing. Tim Morgan was on as Firmin - great voice but little comic ability I'm afraid - as was Liesl Dowsett as Meg, who had a sweet, if not particularly powerful, voice.
Scott is certainly a distinct contrast to David - back in his principal days he was rather Peter Karrie-esque and I'm glad he's toned that done now as stand-by as I find that a little too excessive for my taste. His Mirror was interesting in rather than just spitting fury as many Phantoms I've seen have done, he seemed to stress the mockery of Raoul with "brave young suitor". His "I am your angel" lines were extremely enticing. The title song was fantastic as ever, though I thought Scott, although he undoubtedly has a great voice, ended up with the opening lines of the fourth verse garbled as his diction suffered. During the cadenza his Phantom was genuinely excited to push Christine higher, and I did appreciate the return of the wig slick - haven't seen it since 2007 as I recall Ramin doing it and before than JOJ.
Music of the Night was very good indeed, certainly better than David's, although Scott sang the lines leading up to "soar" from the organ rather than by Gina, which amplifies the effect the Phantom's voice has on Christine but I do prefer the alternative blocking. Scott seemed also to get stuck on the portcullis for "Let your mind...", the portcullis really shook before he managed to free himself and sing "be" - very well-sung indeed - and I don't know whether he got his foot caught on the bottom or something so that he had to stay sprawled out on the portcullis for an extended period of time. The sensuality of the pose was compensated by Scott's desperation in "touch me", and what was interesting was that when he broke off the pose Gina really seemed to struggle with him - to put it crudely an "arm wrestle" - and I guess it was nice to see a Christine not completely under the Phantom's spell by this point but I still wonder why there was such a struggle - the only reason I can think of is that Christine didn't want to break off the pose. I genuinely don't know why this was, but it was an interesting response regardless.
STYDI was good, although Scott reacted a millisecond too quickly to the unmasking for my taste but he was suitably furious, albeit he came in a little late for "Stranger than you dreamt it..." and had to miss the first syllable of the line as a result.
During Il Muto he was deliciously manic – what a great evil laugh the man has – and from my seat in the Grand Circle I could see how he would just stand on the proscenium arch a good few seconds before his cue which had quite a menacing effect. Moving on to AIAOY Reprise, it was very emotional indeed and he was genuinely tortured by the sound of Gina and Simon (I’m still not entirely sure whether this is a projection of the Phantom’s memory or not, which would be an interesting insight into the character and I quite like this reading of the off-stage singing). What I loved was the fact that he laughed after screaming “Go!”, a nice throwback to the days when the crash was accompanied by the Phantom’s laughter.
I’ll skip on to Wandering Child, which was good, although I found that Scott was drowned out a little by Gina and Simon – this seemed constant throughout the performance which was odd to me, so maybe there was a problem with the adjustment of his mic levels, I don’t know about the technical aspects. It’s always a pleasure to hear the trio. When threatening Raoul he was quite unhinged, taunting Raoul with his laughter, but he mistimed his last line by waiting for so long that the flashpots didn’t go off – I was a little disappointed. Instead the audience was treated to the sight of the lightning streak at the back of the stage – a little bathetic considering the Phantom’s threats.
PONR was good, very well-sung by both Scott and Gina, though Gina seems to have changed her interpretation somewhat as she didn’t react as much to the “boob-grab” as she did previously, simply beginning her verse rather than having Christine break character. “Say You’ll Share With Me…” was very moving, plaintive, Scott seemed both desperate and a little demented as he forced the ring onto Gina’s hand. However his Down Once More was a little too much for me, he was barely able to punt as his hands were shaking so much with fury – I thought this a little excessive. But he redeemed himself somewhat with his Final Lair – one of the most physical I’ve seen as Gina really defended Simon quite vigorously by pushing Scott away. Scott thrust the deformed side of his face at Gina with “This face…” and was so pre-occupied with giving the Gina the bouquet he brushed off “It’s in your soul that the true distortion lies”. He was wonderfully snarky to Simon and became increasingly manic and cruel once he had him in the lasso. His response to “The tears I might have shed” was one of the most extreme I’ve seen: he couldn’t handle Christine’s words emotionally and slammed the sheet music against the stand. His “You try my patience” was highly effective as he initially was silent before crying out in frustration, before delivering the first line in a threatening whisper and increasing the volume for “Make your choice”. The kiss was one of the most emotional I’ve seen – rather than playing it as if the character were in a utter state of shock and realised that the kiss was all too much, Scott, however , although evidently surprised, seemed to embrace it somewhat, tentatively placing his arms around Gina’s back, so the kiss was very sweet and tender; it brought tears to my eyes. Unfortunately Scott’s subsequent actions were all a bit much for me – I appreciate that his Phantom is very emotionally volatile but he seemed to flail around a bit by the music box which left me a little cold. But his imitating of monkey was heart wrenching in its child-like quality and his very emotional, wavering, “Christine, I love you” was heightened by his refusal to take back the ring – Gina forced it upon him. He remained, collapsed on the stage, sobbing, before seeing the veil and letting out a pitiful “oh” before taking hold of it. His emotional performance almost compromised the power of the last lines, but regardless they were delivered well.

All in all, I think Scott is a good Phantom with a fairly traditional interpretation – deliciously manic and menacing at points but emotionally vulnerable and extremely unstable as well as being oddly alluring. Plus he has a well-suited voice for the part, he ‘sounds’ the part in a way Ramin never did, although I found it odd that such a pleasant voice was drowned out at points. It’s a shame I found his acting sometimes too much because otherwise I would be completely convinced by his Phantom.

On a completely different note, I thought the sound in the Grand Circle sounded less artificially augmented as it is in the Stalls and Royal Circle, so it sounded more like it did prior to the new sound system. Not that the sound is bad in the Stalls or Royal Circle – in fact I love it – but it made for an interesting change.


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Post  Miss von Krolock Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:39 pm

Thanks for giving us such a detailed review of Scott's interpretation! I really hope I can see him again sometime next year.
Miss von Krolock
Miss von Krolock

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Post  operafantomet Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:51 pm

Must. See. Scott. Davies. As. The. Phantom.

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