Theatre Review: Love Never Dies – Adelphi

It's very simple – if you like the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber you will love, Love Never Dies; if you read books by Ben Elton you might make allowances for the story; if you have any senses at all you will thrill at the design by Bob Crowley and; if you have a pulse you will fall in love with the equally ravishing Sierra Boggess (Christine) and Ramin Karimloo (The Phantom) whose skill with this material and rapport with one another is expert, sincere, and essential to the evening’s success.

Frederick Forsyth's idea to transport the Phantom to the freak shows of Coney Island carnival land is inspired theatricality and Bob Crowley exploits this with relish.

It simply amazes that the Lord with all his expertise and brilliance as a Producer, let alone Composer, should not have learnt the importance of the ‘book' with any musical. Mr Elton is not up to the job and neither is the resultant committee that seems to have cobbled this together and missed a trick. The should-I-stay-or-should-I-go dilemma of Christine isn't sustaining or convincing enough somehow but when it manifests itself in song and staging by director Jack O'Brien we get another exquisite Norma Desmond style coup de theatre.

There are plenty of others too making it all the more baffling why this consummate director has his cast fill empty bars with meaningless gestures, I suppose it's that book again which like a stolen toilet doesn't give him much to go on. He does, however, pull off some great tricks with a nod to the prequel that delight.

That cast is magnificent to a man. Joseph Millson (Raoul) as well as being the brilliant actor we've all long admired can really sing. Who knew? Niamh Perry (Fleck) is underused and clearly on the road to stardom.

And as I'm writing for The Drama Student Magazine here's a few of the magnificent ensemble that stood out for me – the Squelch (!) of Adam Pearce (GSA); Derek Andrews (Arts Ed); Jessica Kirton (Arts Ed); Ashley Nottingham (London Studio Centre); Tom Oakley (Arts Ed); Simon Ray Harvey (Bird); Dean Chisnall (Arts Ed); Tam Mutu (GSA).

Would I reccomend it? Highly. Was I seduced? Ravished. What would I say to ALW? “Return to Rice, Hart, Hampton and Black.”

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  1. THANK YOU! Someone who finally gets it. It breaks my heart to see people who say they are die hard Phantom Phans bashing on LND when it is wonderful to me. Also, people who haven’t even seen it are saying this stuff. I haven’t seen it because it has not opened in the US yet, but i’m saving my bad assumptions for when i see it, which i’m sure i will have none! This sequel could also mean an even longer run for the original Phantom so that makes me happy right there!

  2. I think it’s disgusting that the critics have in the main rolled over and supported Lloyd Webber Inc’s tedious Love Never Dies whilst ignoring the Union Theatre’s glorious, glorious Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi – a new award winning British musical that really does have a great story, wonderful songs, enormous wit and warmth, in fact everything LND doesn’t. I think the critics should be ashamed of themselves. Somehow we have to make sure this brilliant, major show gets the publicity it deserves and ends up in the West End – or we risk another decade of stagnation, 2nd hand broadway inports and juke box shows. Please go and see for yourself and help me spread the word where ever and when ever possible.

  3. I saw this a week ago. The performances and special effects were stunning; everyone poured their hearts into less then solid material.

    However, the plot was botched, the characterisation terribly inconsistent and poor; and above all, aside from a few special spots, the score was bland and unmemorable. It felt as if ALW was trying far too hard. The terrible truth is that LND is really not very good, at all. It is passable on terms of spectacle. No, I wasn’t “ravished.” Charmed by the actors and amazing voices, wowed by the staging, and bemused about any form of “story.” Its such a shame, because I could see the effort. I really, really, really wanted to like it. But it was poor, and the music was dull, so no, it didn’t appeal in the slightest as anything earwormy or emotionally impactful.

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