Review: Phantom of the Opera
The GMTG cast delivered a faultless performance in their outstanding production of The Phantom of the Opera.
The word ‘Phantastic’ is all too tempting a pun when it comes to describing GMTG’s latest musical production. However there are much better, more deserving words to praise it.
Of course, the apprehension of GMTG taking on such a successful show is something that threatened to overshadow the performance. To tackle the definitive musical with such a level of renown was undoubtedly a risk. How to make it reach the right level of quality and yet maintain some originality, and all on a minuscule fraction of the budget?
Torin was just 10 when he first saw the iconic show in London, and was blown away by the powerful mystery and emotion. Olivia’s familiarity comes mostly from Youtube clips and her youngest sister bashing out the Phantom’s main theme on the piano!
However, far from hiding in the shadows of the show’s reputation, GMTG managed something quite remarkable. It left us with new lasting memories.
The crowning glory of this performance is certainly the musical quality, with the orchestration of this production putting Olivia’s sister’s skills to shame! (Sorry Martha).
Whereas so many student productions may have relied upon the easier route of pressing play on a CD deck, Musical Director/Producer Josh Sood’s insistence on tackling the music head on gave the memorable buzz that only a live performance can give.
The risk may then have appeared in how GMTG would convey originality to their production and in all honesty I could not fault it.
Debuting Director Megan Probert should be beaming with pride, as all areas of this production shined. The appearance of her cast was beautiful, with exquisite costume design and makeup (specifically in the case of the Phantom, who left us in awe) complimenting the overall professionalism of the show.
The musical’s dark, ominous side was presented in each creatively apt backdrop with rolling mist to create the moody atmosphere. The excellent use of stage effects was most notable with the infamous disappearance of the Phantom at the end of the performance.
Thom Udall (Raoul) was sincerely captivating in his acting and singing, giving a particularly enchanting performance in ‘All I Ask Of You’ serving the perfect contrast to the dark jealously of Andrew Wilson’s Phantom.
Andrew showed a strong, soulful portrayal, particularly in Act II where the story finally reveals his inner tragedy.
Other outstanding performances were given by the sweet Abby Fiddik (Christine), and the whimsical duo Ben Cuffin-Munday (Monsieur Firmin) and Peter Brooks (Monsieur André). Jake Dorrell was on his usual sparkling form, causing raucous laughter as he channeled an inner diva into Opera house flouncer Piangi, alongside the vocally unrivalled Joanna Goldspink (Carlotta).
This review would not be complete without mention of the excellent choreography. The dancers achieved new levels of elegance, especially during ‘Past the Point of No Return’, where their graceful yet sharply focused movement increased the tension between the Phantom and Christine.
All chorus work, most notably in Masquerade, was again flawless in unison and on an individual level, and produced incredible expression and emotion in every song.
In all, GMTG gave us an unrivalled performance, re-setting the boundaries of what can be achieved in university level drama. This production of Phantom of the Opera will be inside our minds forever.
Photography courtesy of Charlotte Wilson.