I had been looking forward to seeing Phantom of the Opera for ages. I had been undecided about whether to book or not, but after seeing Michael Ball singing Phantom songs on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 40 Musical Years I knew I had to see it. Her Majesty’s Theatre was one I’d never been to before and, because of the short notice, I was up in the rafters. Literally, I was as high up as you could get, which was pretty damn high. I didn’t like it. As the music started I got goose bumps. The famous “Phantom of the Opera” score boomed out of the speakers and I couldn’t help but smile. Unfortunately, for me, that was the highlight of the show. Please remember that this is a personal blog, written for fun, and I’m entitled to my own opinions. To cut a long story short, I fell asleep. They over-played the “Phantom of the Opera” score so much I was sick of it after the first ten minutes. If you have an amazing piece of music like that you use it strategically, for emphasis and effect, you don’t shove it down people’s throats. Take We Will Rock You – they tease you with snippets of Bohemian Rhapsody all the way through and then sing it at the very end of the encore. After all the hype of surrounding the musical I thought it would be something truly special. It wasn’t. The way the Phantom’s voice echoed eerily around the theatre was very well done, especially as I was right next to a speaker so it felt like he was right next to me. I was so high up, however, that I couldn’t even tell which person was the Phantom, or which person was speaking at any given time. It may have been because I was so high up but, in my opinion, there was no atmosphere, no tension and well, the fact that I fell asleep says it all. I prayed for the first act to end and committed the ultimate theatre crime – I left at the interval. I felt like a fugitive running down the (many) stairs and out of the door. As I walked back along Piccadilly Circus I thought ahead to my next show of the day – Jersey Boys. It couldn’t be any worse than what I’d just (half) seen!
As I settled in to watch Jersey Boys I was a bit nervous. I’d already wasted one afternoon on a show I hated, what if this was as bad? As Tommy DeVito walked on stage to introduce the story, I relaxed. Jon Boydon, who played him, was incredible. A flawless Jersey accent, lots of confidence and a beautiful voice. Ryan Molloy, who played Frankie Valli, was also spectacular. His high notes were unbelievable! It can’t be easy to sing song after song in that key but he did it without even breaking a sweat. As the story progressed I began to notice David McGranaghan who played Nick. He was a very quiet character to start off with but, as the story went on, he developed more and more and, by the second act, he was my clear favourite. Edd Post who played Bob Gaudio also caught my eye. He was very charming with a strong voice and a cheeky smile. The four main cast members bounced off eachother really well and, the friendship between Frankie and Gaudio especially, was a treat to watch. Each character takes their turn to narrate part of the story and, when it was Nick’s turn, David was stood right in front of me on the stage. His comic timing was genius and the understated nature of his character proved what a good actor he was. And he was cute.
As the show came to a close I was surprised by how many Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs I actually knew, and I had resolved to take my Mum to see the show. I only knew the song “Sherry” because she sings it (badly) around the house all the time. Afterwards we headed to the stage door and I was lucky enough to meet Edd Post and David McGranaghan in person – both absolutely lovely and very kind to us. Four shows down and one to go, of course I’d saved the best til last. Rock of Ages, here we come!