It was an impromptu trip to the theatre, a last minute decision to snap up tickets to The Phantom of the Opera on a spare Friday night nestled in the midst of a very hectic couple of months.
I like musicals, as they have been ingrained in my life since childhood, but I haven’t had as much chance to indulge recently as I’d like. Since watching We Will Rock You five times, I haven’t seen much else.
The task of catching up with more musicals (West End, touring or otherwise) was added to my Life List a while back but it wasn’t until I watched the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Phantom of the Opera that I really thought I should step up and get on with it. The Phantom has always resonated with me a little bit, seeing as one of the leads has the same name as me, so it seemed like a good one to start off with.
So, Friday night, last minute tickets. It wasn’t the best seat, far off to the right and tucked up underneath the circle. When the Phantom clambered aboard his chandalier and started rising up in anger, he disappeared from view. When he appeared to the right of the stage at the start of the second act, it was a good few minutes before I could see him.
Aside from those small annoyances, it was a good performance. I do think I was spoiled by the 25th Anniversary. These celebrations pick out the best cast and put on fantastic performances, so that anything subsequently doesn’t quite live up to the hype. It’s only natural, but is slightly disappointing.
Everyone involved did a fantastic job, though, and I even managed to spare a few tears at the end of the show. It was quite fun when someone behind me was obviously a huge fan of the actress playing Christine, and started whooping almost uncontrollably during the final applause. At one point, an usher had to come over and quieten them down. I mean, she was good, but that felt a bit overboard to me!
Going to the theatre can sometimes have the same problems as going to the cinema – uncomfortable seats, other people coughing and rattling, no ability to pause when you feel like it. I’ve always thought the difference with the theatre is that it’s just not an experience you can have at home, except with the video versions and things like the Digital Theatre maybe that’s about to change too.
Not before I’ve completed my nine other viewings, though.