Pigs Never Fly, Yarn Never Plys … A Review Of “Love Never Dies”

by Lady Laces on January 29, 2012

Last week I saw a preview of the Sydney production of Love Never Dies in the Capitol Theatre. 

Old PlateFace is back in this dark & disturbed sequel to Phantom of the Opera. It is now 1907 and set in Coney Island, New York.

The set, by Gabriela Tylesova, is quite wonderful – it even manages to work with the Capitol’s over-ornate interior.  It is a roller-coaster, it is gang-ways, it is a ship and the “Luna Park face meets Phantom’s 1/2 mask” is brilliant.  There are also wonderful steampunk moments … I wanted to see more of that coach!

The costumes are lovely and yes, I am biased.  Our heroine Christine (Anna O’Byrne) has gorgeous period gowns, the Phantom gets a black floor-length coat (and his alter-ego Ben Lewis has the stature to carry it off), the ‘freaks’ in glass cages are fabulous and what isn’t there to love in the chorus line’s ‘little birds’ and ‘bathing beauty’ costumes?

The performers – I’m not a fan of this style of performance with miked up singing.  But I loved the physicality of the chorus and the Trio of Fleck (Emma J Hawkins) Squelch (Paul Tabone) & Gangle (Dean Vince) are just fabulous.

For me the music was a letdown.  Constant repetition of one short tune does not make it memorable.  Surely, to make a musical a success it helps if there is one major song that will get air-time?  Phantom had ‘The Music of the Night’ Cats had ‘Memory’ Evita had ‘Don’t cry for me …’

The story-line does provide a great opportunity for a major song when Christina has her solo moment, unfortunately that opportunity is wasted.  The story for this sequel to Phantom is quite dark & emotionally disturbed and the dramatic ending certainly surprised me.  In the 1980s musical version of Phantom, innocent love triumphs over the obsessive, possessive, svengali ‘love’ of the Phantom.  The sequel has a story that seems very much of our time – innocence is questioned, young love has turned into disappointment, beauty & talent are doomed …

Perhaps I’m over thinking things?  What this show really needs is one really good song.

But it is still worth seeing if only for the wonderful set and costumes!

Lady Laces

(A guest blogger on occasional whims of fancy)

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