On the Manila Production of the Phantom of the Opera
I have been looking forward to watching this live ever since i heard that they’d be playing in manila. (and even before that too! it’s part of my long list of ‘to see’ in broadway when i finally visit newyork! ) as mentioned, i am a big Phan! 🙂 i first watched it when i was in gradeschool and the highschool batch made an amateur production. I read the novel when i was in highschool (and saw another amateur production) and i watched the movie when it came out in 2004. I have a copy of the movie and have played it over and over and over… I even have an entire playlist dedicated to the songs. 🙂 (i can debate on whose version of music of the night is better between gerard butler, david cook or josh groban, and i could argue all sides of the coin too!)
I just got home from CCP,and all i can say is that i enjoyed the manila production of the phantom of the opera—with one slight hiccup, but more on that later.
I loved the London Cast! They were, in a word– world-class! (okay, two words, but hey, the hyphen makes it one! Haha)
The acting was exceptional, the choreography was perfect to a T, the stage and props were acceptable. I say acceptable because i wasnt really wow-ed by it. To be honest i was expecting more bells and whistles, but the acting was riveting enough that this oversight was forgettable. It wasnt the hiccup i mentioned, and to be honest, i can just imagine how nightmare-ish shipping all those props were, as it is.
My big gripe about it was in Act II, Scene 8, specifically when they were singing “point of no return”. I have to be honest, it is my favorite song in the whole musical and has always been one of my favorite scenes. Needless to say, my expectations were quite big… And it all fell flat on my face! I mean, i have always interpreted the scene in my head as “the seduction of christine,” with the phantom’s song mesmerizing christine like a moth to a flame. In my head the scene has always been sensual and darkly Compelling, with the phantom taking all these risks (hence it’s past the point of no return) using all he’s got to win christine, and christine taking on an aggressive stance-almost. The scenes got to have flames to embody the heat passing between them, and the backup dancers locked in a mating dance! What can i say, ’tis a bold scene!
Instead, all i got as stage props was a cluttered table and red light. To make matters worse, the phantom (masquerading as Don Juan masquarading as the help) was swathed in a lumpless black cloth from head to toe, like a lost member of the ku klux clan, if the ku klux clan wore black! No wonder christine wasnt seduced! The acting and the singing voice of jonathan roxmouth (the phantom) and claire lyon (christine) were faultless, but still, i felt bad that of all the scenes, the production decided to scrimp on this one.
I mean, the phantom’s dark and dangerous nature–to the point of dementia, was the main selling point of the musical. Tis what makes him irresistible to the lady fans (and the not so lady fans) tis what makes the phantom such a challenging and sought-after role to play, and that scene was the perfect way to showcase that… But i guess the production team and the directors had other ideas.
Still, there were a lot of exceptional moments that made up for my disappointment. I’ve always wondered if the masquarade scene was as riveting and fantastic as the one in the movie, and now i dont have to wonder anymore. It is all that and more! It really was a feast for the eyes!
And the lake scene, oi! Of course, the phantom singing music of the night has got to be the most anticipated, and it completely delivers!
I cried (really cried) when the phantom sang his reprise of all i ask of you! Jonathan Roxmouth was very effective in conveying the phantom’s pain and sense of betrayal.
I also wanted to know if they’d keep the rolling elephant prop in hannibal comes! They did, complete with the drunk crewmen inside! My smile was really huge when the elephant came out!
Even though i’ve nit-picked and crapped all over the production (cant help it, there is really no pleasing the big fans!), i enjoyed myself immensely and i recommend it to other Phans! (and even if you are not one, i bet you’d still enjoy it)
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