With a talented cast, a 16 piece orchestra and exceptional direction and choreography, Sky Theatre set spines tingling in their most ambitious production to date writes Andy Brown.
Phantom of the Opera is one of the most challenging shows to produce. Audience expectations are always high and with a difficult score, eye-wateringly complex vocal arrangements and its dark and sinister themes, most production companies would steer well clear. But with a superb production of Les Miserables last year, Sky Theatre clearly love a challenge; and in Phantom of the Opera, they have proven once again that they are more than up to the task.
Ben Studd puts in a dynamic performance as the Phantom, effortlessly spanning the broad range of emotions, from love and tenderness to gravity and malice. Through rich, versatile vocals, Ben’s is a performance that many adult professionals would be proud of.
The role of Christine is played brilliantly by young Tilly Goodwin who, at just 13 years of age has no business carrying the powerful soprano voice that she has. And yet her logic-defying vocal talent has hairs standing on end on more than one occasion as she effortlessly climbs the vocal range to dizzying heights, displaying every kind of emotion along the way.
Having provided a memorable performance as Jean Val Jean in last year’s Sky Theatre production of Les Miserables, Charlie Harris has already proven his worth as a strong vocalist and emotionally intelligent performer. As Raoul, Charlie delivers yet again, offering a rich performance with vocal tone and clarity, perfectly portraying his character’s tenderness.
A deep, equally talented ensemble supports the lead performers beautifully, progressing the story and maintaining the dark, oppressive mood of the show through memorable solo performances and captivating dialogue. The depth of talent available within the cast becomes even more apparent during larger chorus numbers, such as Masquerade which, with rich harmonies and flawless timing, is greater than the sum of its parts.
The show is complemented by the full-bodied accompaniment of a 16-piece orchestra. Under deft musical direction, the orchestra, combined with the power of the vocalists, creates a huge sound that shakes the rafters and resonates through the bones of every member of the audience, perfectly underpinning the dark and powerful story.
With slick direction, impressive production values and a slew of unforgettable individual performances, Sky Theatre’s production of Phantom of the Opera is definitely not to be missed.
l Tickets for Phantom of the Opera showing at Melton Theatre have nearly sold out. There are only tickets left for this Saturday’s matinee performance at 2.30pm. For details call the box office on (01664) 851111.