Another look: Love Never Dies

It is nice to get out the week before Christmas and see a show. Particularly as an attempt to see La Boheme at the Cock Theatre Saturday was thwarted by too much snow. So as a break from the usual Christmas festivities, I took Gio and Bill to see a refreshed version of Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre. As we left the theatre by one of the fire exits, we brushed past a man who resembled Andrew Lloyd Webber racing the other way. It most likely was ALW and Gio and Bill wanted to stop and chat / stare / gawk or do whatever fans do. I pushed on as there was nothing to see only the composer...

When I last caught Love Never Dies I was a little bit disappointed by the plot, the gloomy characters and the unintentional hilarity of it all. Nine months have passed and in what must be some sort of theatrical gestation, the production has been reworked and it is a substantial improvement. The story is clearer, the characters make more sense and things generally flow a bit better. There are even some choice improvements to the lyrics. Having seen an early preview it is fascinating how some minor (and a few significant) changes make a difference.

The show has ditched the dreamy start and musings of an old lady and now starts with one of the stronger numbers (Till I Hear You Sing). This gives some context to the show and gets it going with a bang. The focus is now constantly on the central characters and there seems to be much less doom and gloom. The famous jacket throwing at the end of the first half is gone as well. In fact, there are even a few welcome gestures of humour. Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, Sierra Boggess as Christine and Joseph Millson as Raoul all have fine voices, but also a great chemistry between them.

Of course the story is still a melodrama, but with some of the more curious aspects of the original production removed, it is an easier journey to go along with. And without the unintentional humour that previously existed. The revisions have also wisely not laboured the ending as before and like the best melodramatic operas, the curtain comes down quickly. I was still none the wiser about the motivations of two characters who are responsible for most of the mild peril in this show, but overall this is a ride you won't mind being taken on. It looks good and sounds good and now won't have you wondering what the hell was all that about. Some of the background to the revisions is below.

As to the final message of the show. Maybe it is love triangles end in tears. Or that at some stage of your life a man is going to make you do something you don't want to do because he has a big jewels. Even if you don't run into the composer as you leave, you are sure to have a good time now... Post show Audioboo musings were as follows...


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