REVIEW: Phantom of the Opera – Edinburgh Playhouse with John Owen-Jones, Simon Bailey, Katie Hall.
After 25 phenomenal years in the West End and the 25th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall last year, this new production, based on the Albert Hall celebration, is touring the UK.
The rather decaying glamour of the Edinburgh Playhouse with its faded colours, peeling paint and candle-lit gloom, is unintentionally, atmospherically and appropriately setting the scene for this production of what it is arguably Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterwork Phantom of the Opera.
The key to the success of this re-staged Phantom is a foot-perfect, note-perfect and emotionally pitch-perfect cast. Added to that the brilliantly inventive design and new direction by Laurence Connor this is now a show with greater emotion and depth.
John Owen-Jones as The Phantom is an actor playing his strongest role. It is a role he has played a record-breaking 2000 times but to his credit it is as fresh as someone playing it for the first time. He brings real emotion and a tender vulnerability to his acting which makes you feel the pain of the man in the mask. He does, as always, sing with a voice so beautiful it would soften the hardest of hearts.
Katie Hall, is a very young Christine, but despite her youth she manages to convey the necessary fearfulness, love and a real sense of longing, which makes the love triangle between the Phantom, and Raoul far more believable.
Simon Bailey is renowned for his beautiful voice but here he gets the chance to show his acting chops, delivering a well-rounded performance, imbuing the often weakly characterised Raoul with drive and strength.
The production is impeccable throughout. It would be easy to enthuse for hours about the set, costumes and music, but that would only spoil the surprises in store. Tickets are like gold-dust for this month-long run and deservedly so, it is a rare thing to see a cast of this calibre and a production of this quality on tour. Beg, borrow or steal a ticket – you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Runs until 20th October at Edinburgh Playhouse details here.