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The Beauty Underneath


If you are a fan of anything then you naturally always worry when you hear the word ‘sequel’, especially when it comes to a musical classic like ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. It’s a show so wonderful in its own right that you know a sequel could ruin it and yet, the latest Lloyd Webber offering ‘Love Never Dies’ not only does the original justice but stands alone as a musical in its own right.

‘Love Never Dies’ takes us from an Opera House in Paris to the Coney Island theatre and circus ‘Phantasma’, where the Phantom has been hiding from the world for ten long years. However, he is not alone as Madame Giry and her daughter Meg have come along, helping the Phantom escape while Meg is now the star of his show and hoping to win his heart. All that is set to change when the Phantom invites the love of his life Christine to come and sing on Coney Island for a one-off special performance and a night none of them will ever forget.

The setting of Coney Island is perfect, once a inhospitable marshland it became ‘Sodom by the Sea’ filled with freaks and people of ill repute before becoming something of a grand amusement park and this leads to the effects and staging departments being able to have an utter field day. You have 3D visual effects, horses made from smoke (to see it is to be believed) more lasers than a Kylie concert (well maybe not quite) and an amazing circus opening that almost takes your breath away.

Ramin Karimloo is a superb Phantom some of his vocals are jaw dropping. Sierra Boggess who has come from ‘Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular’ where she was playing Christine as she does now, wonderfully takes on the role of a women whose heart is clearly in two places and her voice, when singing the title track, will reduce grown men to tears with its emotion. The cast were all strong and brilliant with Summer Strallen, who you may all know from Hollyoaks and The Sound of Music, giving her version of Meg, which was something to behold; saucy, sultry yet completely vulnerable.

The main star of the show is of course the music and after a few ropey shows on and off this is Lloyd Webber back to his finest. The melodies are wonderful and the lyrics have a modernism that will translate to an audience of all ages. Though there are shades of ‘Phantom’ this is no copy and we defy you not to love the song ‘The Beauty Underneath’ with all its wonderful melodrama.

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