Fresh and Spectacular: Phantom of the Opera.

From the onset it was captivating. The music ensured such. But the cast on stage did so also.

World renowned Phantom of the Opera was always going to be a difficult one to capture the devoted attention of the audience. And it did.

Photo by Jasper Kardos

It was clear from comments around me that many of last nights audience were unaware of the musical’s story. Having read the novel I was familiar with the story but I was in awe at how such a young cast could portray this so well to really inform an unaware audience of the plot.

From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom (Aodhan Kehoe) schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae (Tirna-Kate Fox). The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide a congenital disfigurement, strong-arms management into giving the budding starlet key roles, but Christine instead falls for arts benefactor Raoul (Jack Carberry). Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.

This really is spectacular entertainment. It’s visual, it’s aural, and it’s colourful. Kehoe and Fox really did excel in their roles of the Phantom and Christine. But one cannot take it away from the rest of the cast. My companion and I debated as to who had the better voice. There was no winner, all excelled.

This show has it all. It has humour, it has conflict, it has passion and at the heart of it all, it has a love story.

One of the elements of theshow that really got me from the beginning was the costume. Whao. Absolutely fantastic. Helen Quigley never disappoints.   

The story that unfolds is one of intrigue, of mystery and of passion, but at its heart it’s a love story. A love story with a difference. One can only admire the phantom for letting Christine go in the end. There really is a touch of sadness to it. This musical teaches us that love cannot be forced. And it teaches us that appearances can be deceiving.

Of course Webber’s songs are what tell the story and these young folk performed them splendidly. The Phantom of the Opera, Music of the Night, That’s all I ask of you and more, really had us on the edge of our seats.

But no show can be a success without chemistry on stage. And that’s why I left smiling last night. I felt the chemistry. It was everywhere. The characters mastered it and even for the finale it was there. So sheer well done to all for capturing and portraying that all important element of good theatre.

A youth production is all about learning and development. This collection of youth are not only learning and developing as actors, dancers and singers, they are encouraging other youth to follow suit. In a time of much uncertainty post-covid, this is just what people need right now; encouragement to engage in the arts and entertainment.

Photo by Jasper Kardos

The Millennium Forum have produced another fantastic youth show and in the modern time it just what we all needed. A shining example of local talent and showcasing a legendary musical that had us captivated. We need to get back out to theatre and we need the right productions to get us there. We have it right here in Derry this week. Don’t miss the opportunity to see it.

Huge well done once again to Producer David McLaughlin and Director Jonathan Burgess and of course Musical Director, Alan Wright. This really is superb. Well done to absolutely each and every person involved.

The Phantom of the Opera runs until this coming Saturday night, 6th August. Get your tickets here before it’s too late.


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