When in Manila, for both theatre addicts and newbies, make sure to catch the limited run of Phantom of the Opera. The thrill of being able to watch this musical started from a banner advertisement I saw on Ticketworld last year after watching Mamma Mia. I was excited because it was actually one of the musicals I wanted to see on Broadway and I am so glad I did not have to wait any longer.
Obsession, jealousy, passion. These are some of the things you will find in the story of Phantom of the Opera. A man whose face was hidden behind a mask, referred by the Paris Opera House as the Phantom falls into a mad infatuation towards a young singer named Christine. The captivating genius dedicated himself to mentoring Christine as well as secretly hoped to win her love. Raoul, Christine’s childhood friend and lover, came into the picture which caused the Phantom to sabotage both the show he was mentoring Christine for and the Opera House.
The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show on Broadway, and there are several reasons for it, among which I will run down for you from their Manila show.
- The amazing cast. From the voices to the movement and the acting, the entire cast was amazing in delivering their numbers. Jonathan Roxmouth who plays the Phantom did a wonderful job. His voice was mesmerizing and haunting, perfect for that portrayal of his ghost-like role. Claire Lyon, who plays Christine Daaé, has that crystal clear voice both when speaking and singing. Not to mention commendable acting of course. My favourite however is Andrea Creighton who played the role of Carlotta Guidicelle also known as the Opera Diva. Those pipes were very powerful, I do not even know where she gets her moment to grasp for some air when singing.
- The sets, costumes and the transitions. To say that the design, props and costumes were great is an understatement. One of the strongest suit of this musical is that they were able to satisfy the audience’s visual appetite. The sets were elaborate and creative. The costumes were detailed and grand. My favourite? The transitions. I was amazed at how fast the backdrop would change as if it was magic. It was seamless. And the timing? Spot on.
- Effects, sounds and lighting. Expect some disappearing act, traveling voices and a bit of fireworks. I was enchanted by everything on the boat scene, but most especially because everything seemed floating and very romantic. Also, watch out for the much talked about chandelier scene, it was pretty cool and I am glad it was executed well.
- The orchestra. Great timing, great music and a great way to pay tribute to the amazing Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I would indulge you to a few of my favourite scenes but feel free to skip the bulleted lines if you want to remain in the dark until you watch the show.
- Phantom and Christine’s scenes.
- My favourite was the boat scene when the Music of the Night number was performed. The chemistry between the Phantom and Christine was so evident, I was so engrossed, I realized I was not even blinking as much. And the lyrics in the song was felt every word in the way they sang and acted not mentioning what seemed to be thousands of candles floating. It was truly great.
- The number Phantom of the Opera. As the Phantom and Christine were making their way down the stairs, the light was focused only to them and everything else was dark. It was magical and I am amazed on the execution. It seemed the production created several flights of stairs out of thin air, well done.
The Phantom of the Opera in Manila is indeed one of the best I have watched. The script contained a few comedic lines that offered a break from the strong emotions other scenes have. Aside from all praises to the actors, orchestra members, production team and the rest of the crew, I commend the people who gambled to bring this grandiose musical over here in Manila. I am proud that we can pull off such a huge production in the country. There’s no need to go to West End or Broadway because theatre is alive in Manila.
If you are an avid fan of the theatre, I am sure you will love this because it is, after all, watching theatre about creating theatre! What’s not to love? And if you are a newbie, since some songs made it to the mainstream, I would not even question it and I say buy your tickets right away. When in Manila, let the Phantom of the Opera haunt you. You may purchase your tickets from Ticketworld and you have only until September 30 to watch. For more information, visit their Facebook page or tweet with #PhantominManila.
*pictures without watermark are from Phantom of the Opera in Manila Facebook page.