#theater: The Phantom of the Opera

On Saturday 23rd of February, One Broke Bookworm went to the Christmas Theater, in Galatsi, for the West End play «The phantom of the Opera».

(The following photos are from the instagram page of @phantomgreece.)

First of all, excuse my English because it’s not my first language. Secondly, I have a confession to make… I’m in love with the movie. When I say in love I mean it with the I’ve seen it five times back to back on multiple occasions and I know every lyric and every quote by heart kind of way. So when I got the chance to watch it live, it was a dream come true.

Picture 1. Christine (Amy Manford) and the Phantom (Ben Forster) sing «The Phantom of the Opera»
source: @phantomgreece

I got chills from the beginning and when we got there (rather easily) I couldn’t wait. We found our seats, which was, for a peculiar reason, at the end of the platform A2K and not in the center as I had chosen back in August. The positive side was that we were still in the center of the stadium and we could see everything, except the faces. If you asked me then what was Christine like I would laugh… (bless the Instagram page of the play).

Picture 2. Christine (Amy Manford) is looking for the «Angel of Music» while the Phantom (Ben Forster) bewitches her
source: @phantomgreece

We aren’t here to complain though, so let’s get to the play. The play is based on the homonymous book by Gaston Leroux. The play is set in the 19th century in Paris and talks about a young dancer, Christine Daae (Amy Manford/Celinde Schoenmaker), who wins a chance to star in a show of Opera Populaire, a theater that is haunted by the Phantom. This «Phantom» (Ben Forster) is an incredibly smart man, an architect, a musician, and a teacher, who manipulates Christine while trying to find happiness. On the other hand, we have Count Raoul de Sani (Nadim Naaman), who recognizes Christine as his childhood friend. This play is about love and pain. A beautiful story surrounded by the incredible music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the lyrics of Charles Hart.

Picture 3. The Phantom (Ben Forster) destroys the masquarade
source: @phantomgreece

The sets were magnificent. Every detail was there for a reason, they even had a person to «light» the fake lights for the fake play inside the play. The had made majestic sets even if they were in stage for a few seconds. The had made a glorious staircase (see Picture 1) that swirls either in the right or in the left accordingly the way the actors had to go. On the other side of the staircase, there was the hideout of the Phantom or the roof of the opera (see Picture 2).

Picture 4. Charlotte (Lara Martins) sings «Think of me» while Piangi (John Ellis) is on an elephant
source: @phantomgreece

There was a full cast of amazing West End actors, like Nadim Naam in the role of Raoul, Lara Martins in the role of Carlotta Giuducelli, Sioan Lloyd in the role of Monsieur Richard Firmin, Arvid Larsen in the role of Monsieur Andre Gilles, Valerie Cutkoin the role of Madame Giri, John Ellis in the role of Ubaldo Piangi and Daisy Hulbert in the role of Meg Giri. The role of Christine Daae was shared by Amy Manford and Celinde Schoenmaker. Finally, in the role of Phantom was Ben Forster and I’ve got to say he was the pest Phantom I have ever seen.

Picture 5. The Phantom (Ben Forster) on the roof of the opera
source: @phantomgreece

The actors had the performance of their lives and the result was magnificent. Their emotions were shown only from their voice and their body and it was unbelievable. As I said before, our seat was in a place that didn’t give us the best visibility, but I didn’t feel that I was missing out because of their performance. The parts of their body were acting on their own. Especially the last scene where the Phantom was crying… Ben Forster’s performance was breathtaking, from his voice cracking to his body visibly in pain. Moreover, I would like to add that Nadim Naaman as Raoul was the best Raoul I have ever seen (sorry Patrick Wilson but it’s true). Also, Christine was more powerfull and not helpless like the movie (sorry Emmy Rossum but you still get in my nerves).

Picture 6. Everyone blames Christine (Celinde Schoenmaker)
source: @phantomgreece

All in all, it was a beautiful play and I’m really glad that I got to watch it. Trust me, if I had the money I would go over and over again just for the aesthetic. I actually teared up when the play started and the music was all over the stadium. Yes It’s cheesy but It’s true. I couldn’t believe that i was there and it was truly amazing. I obviously cried (and died) in the end when my precious Phantom was crying and singing for his love of Christine, but she was singing a duet with Raoul about their love… poor Phantom!

Picture 7. Raoul (Nadim Naaman)
source: @phantomgreece

For real now, if you don’t care in sitting in a spot where there is a chance you can’t see or if you don’t mind booking tickets from August and end up in a slightly different seats, then «Phantom of the opera» worths every single penny of yours. They incarnate lovable characters and they succeeded. Congratulation to the director Stephen Barlow for his great work, and to the choreographer Ewan Jones. Also, a huge standing ovation for the maestro Michael England, who was responsible for the Andrew Lloyd Webber songs come to life.

That was my review. Thank you for reading and I’m gonna see you next time!

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