Review: You Will Believe ‘Love Never Dies’ After Seeing This…

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies opened on Monday, 22 February 2010 at London’s Adelphi Theatre to a packed house full of excited theatregoers and Andrew Lloyd Webber himself.  The audience was all a buzz with anticipation.  It seems that a lot of time had passed since this new show was announced formally at the press launch on 8 October 2009 at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre but it is here now and is a must see!  The world premiere performance of Love Never Dies is scheduled for 9 March 2010.  

It is unimaginable all the people required to make a production like this but a thank you goes out to all involved for making such a remarkable and history-making musical.  Bravo.  Andrew Lloyd Webber must be very proud seeing this idea finally come to life. 

It opens on the pier at Coney Island on a dreary, cold, moonlit night with Madame Giry (played by Liz Robertson) reminiscing of Coney Island in its day.  The sound effects complimented the set with seagulls and the wind blowing.  Even the moon turned into a ferris wheel – how imaginative.  The visual effects were stunning as screens and projections enhanced / portrayed what she was thinking about.  The tall man, acrobats, fire baton performer, trapeze artists and the circus acts were terrific and their costumes authentic looking.  This is just the beginning as it only gets better. 

© Tracey Nolan

Before I go further into the story, I must comment on the fabulous music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and conducted by Simon Lee.  It intensified and supported what was being performed by the talented actors.  Be prepared to get shivers when you hear The Phantom (passionately and perfectly played by Ramin Karimloo) sing ‘Til I Hear You Sing.  All the songs are special but my three favorite are ‘Til I Hear You Sing, Look with Your Heart, and Love Never Dies.  

The wonderful actors are commended on delivering such convincing performances.  A list of the main characters follows but it is not to disregard the ensemble who all add to a successful show. 

The Phantom is absolutely perfectly played by the talented Ramin Karimloo.  The beautiful Sierra Bogges makes her West end debut playing Christine Daae.  Christine’s husband, Raoul, is played by Joseph Millson.  As mentioned above, Madam Giry (manager) is played by Liz Robertson and her daughter (and performer), Meg Giry is played by Summer StrallenThe Phantom’s devoted trio Fleck, Squelch, and Gangle were played by Niamh Perry, Adam Pearce, and Jami Reid-Quarrel.  And last, but not least… Christine’s son, Gustave (the only new character) is played by a multitude of children but on this night, the character was wonderfully played by Harry Child who sang with a pure voice. 

I must reiterate Ramin Karimloo plays such a passionate character.  You can feel it in his songs, you can see it in his actions.  He is absolutely brilliant.  Sierra Boggess is beautiful and delicate with a softer voice.  All of the actors are talented in their own right, of course.  It is easy to see why everyone got a standing ovation. 

This may be a continuation of the most famous love story but it is a separate story all it’s own.  Taking place 10 years after the infamous Paris Opera House, it offers one surprise after another. The Phantom is a Man in his own right having created a mysterious and intriguing world on Coney Island, his Phantasma.  He sends for Christine to perform there.  Due to monetary problems, Christine accepts and brings her husband and son with her, no one realizing who Mr Y is.  Her husband seems like a pompous jerk who complains about everything but her child seems to share her qualities and is kind and innocent.  Just when they think no one is there to meet them at the dock, a ‘glass’ horse and a seemingly empty carriage with a glass skeleton driver pulls up.  The door opens and The Phantom’s Devoted Trio get out to greet them and take them to their master.  The visual imagery projected was terrific as it showed ‘the carriage’ travelling over a bridge and a map showing where they were going from and travelling to.  The combination of projection, the actual scenery/stage set, and live actors complimented one another and helped to portray the story. 

My first opinion of Raoul is confirmed by the way he treats his son and talks to his wife soon after they arrive at the Hotel.  He does nothing but complain and his drinking problem evident (which is added to by the gambling problem referred to more than once).  Their son, Gustave, has a pure voice to match his pure heart and it is easy to see that Christine loves him dearly.  It’s even apparent that she loves her husband and is devoted to him though one wonders why.  Raoul leaves for ‘fresh air’ (at the local bar) and Gustave goes to bed after his mother comforts him when he questions if his father loves him.  Then Christine, left alone, plays the musical toy that was given to her son and recognizes the music.  She is standing there obviously feeling a presence as The Phantom enters from the balcony.  They sing the ‘why’ and ‘what if’ game.  The love, history, and attraction is so transparent but she remains the dutiful wife.  By the way, the detail in the hotel room, particularly the door / balcony was splendid.  Gustave awakens from a nightmare and meets his mother’s ‘friend’, Mr Y (the man who brought them there). 

The next day, Christine and Gustave go backstage at Phantasma for business-related reasons when who should she run into but Meg Giry.  They are joined by Raoul and Madame Giry where they have a surprise reunion.  As they sing, Dear Old Friend, it is apparent that it is an awkward reunion and not a welcomed one especially for Meg and Madam Giry.  This is when Raoul finds out who the boss is and he is not pleased about the news. 

The Phantom calls for Gustave and his devoted trio brings the boy to his room.  The boy is intrigued with all the inventions / gadgets (like the walking skeleton with lady’s legs) which pushes a table across the stage).  He also plays the piano for The Phantom.  The Phantom marvels at his musical talent and enjoys that Gustave is at home there.  There is some important news that is revealed before the intermission and not something that makes everyone happy. 

After the intermission, the Orchestra plays Entr’acte, a beautiful introduction to Part II.  The rest of the scenes are as good as the first half.  There are humorous parts throughout the musical… one being in the bar when The Phantom (pretending to be a bartender) reveals himself to Raoul.  That was a good scene between the two men in Christine’s life.  I will say that Christine obviously will have to make a choice but I won’t say any more.  I don’t want to spoil anything so will just continue that it is full of intrigue, surprise, laughter, tears, and an undying love.  The ending was very unexpected but again I can’t divulge more because I want you to go and enjoy it.  I want you to be surprised and moved.  Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a sceptic of love or whether you just want to see how the story continues… you’ll want to see Love Never Dies.  Go, take it in, feel it, and enjoy! 

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S P O I L E R   A L E R T

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If you want to know more, please read on… if not, PLEASE READ NO FURTHER!!! 

The Phantom figures out before intermission that Gustave is his son (which I also figured out so may not be a surprise to you).  At the altercation at the bar, the men make an agreement… if Christine performs that evening, Raoul will leave.  If she does not perform, The Phantom will let her be and will pay all of Raoul’s debts.  It is touch and go what she will do as she is almost pulled in by Raoul’s words.  Her love for The Phantom though is too strong and at the last minute while on the stage, she starts to sing.  She sings Love Never Dies… Raoul surprisingly honors the deal made or maybe just realizes he has no chance and leaves.  She has chosen her true love.  Just when you delightedly think there will be a happy-ever-after ending… there is more – Meg has taken Gustave.  She is saddened by the realization that her boss loves another and feels used for all the years she gave to him.  She is beside herself with grief.  After a chase / search on the streets of Coney Island, they are found on the pier.  Gustave is scared.  Meg lets him go and he flees to the protective arms of his mother.  Meg then pulls out a gun… The Phantom’s gun and points it at him while The Phantom and her mother try to talk her out of doing anything stupid or dangerous.  She then turns the gun to herself when The Phantom talks her (or sings her) out of doing any self-harm… you think everything is fine until he accidentally calls her Christine at the end.  That pushes her over the edge and she almost unknowingly fires the gun at Christine’s direction.  Yes, Christine is shot to the dismay of all, even her shooter whom she forgives before she dies.  She also reveals to Gustave who his father is and helps him accept it.  The Phantom and Christine share a love-filled, emotional kiss and embrace before she tragically dies.  The scene ends with Gustave removing his father’s mask and touching his face – a form of acceptance and a moving moment between father and son indicating that they will be okay.

by Ann Kamran (stagetalk.co.uk)

[Rating:5.0/5]

Book Tickets for Love Never Dies at Adelphi Theatre London!

51 thoughts on “Review: You Will Believe ‘Love Never Dies’ After Seeing This…”

  1. Are you being paid by Webber? Honestly…

    Look at this plotline objectively. What does it look like? Either a)a daytime soap opera or b) a romance novel. There is nothing original about a storyline like this. You can completely see through the “who’s the daddy” concept. It’s all laughable. You cannot look at the original and see any semblance of this being at all like those characters? As for the Phantom and Christine getting it on between storylines as the explanation for pregnancy…would you accept this in a movie sequel? Most people would say that makes for bad writing/movie making. That’s not a sequel that’s making up junk! If they wanted to have it they might as well have shown that in the show rather than saying “Oh by the way we had sex once and the baby is his”…come on now *rolls eyes* A movie critic would pan anything with a storyline like this. Be realistic.

  2. Thank you for the information about the plot of Love Never Dies – I have been wondering, debating and dreaming about it for months now and finally this morning I know all about it. Going to see the show next week but couldnt wait til i saw it for the plot – Thank you and I cant wait to see it even more now Jason

  3. This show is horrible. It stomps on everything that the original story Gaston Leroux created stands for. There in no Phantom sequel, only bad fanfiction.

  4. thanks for writing this review. it was very interesting to read. thank you again. take no notice of what the ‘un’phans say

  5. I went to see this last night and it was absolutely stunning. I like ramin and love his singing and acting.

  6. This is such bull…I’m so mad, I can’t stay focused on my school work…when on earth did Christine and the Phantom have SEX? And what is with Christine being completely ignored as a character and strong female lead? Webber, you have seriously sold your soul to the Devil…I have no intention of ever seeing this.

  7. Thanks for this review! It’s nice to hear that you thought the show was exciting and added to the original story. I’ve heard a lot of people are not fans. But then again, it’s only had one performance, and people have to give it a chance, right? I don’t think any fan of the original PHANTOM really *wants* this show to stink. Hopefully they can tighten the show up, particularly before it comes to Broadway.

    Did this make you want to rush out and see the original show? Because it makes me feel like curling up with the dependable original. I just interviewed Jeremy Stolle, who understudies the Phantom on Broadway. Check out my Q&A and video with him. He gives some really cool insight into what it’s like being on call for the role.

    Jesse
    http://www.stage-rush.com/2010/02/understudy-hall-phantoms-jeremy-stolle.html

  8. Thank you for all the detail. It’s nice to know what is currently in previews. Makes me wonder how much will change before opening night.

  9. starmelace: Uhm, I believe it was implied that in the original, the Phantom had sex with Christine – with or without her consent.

    Anyway, Love Never Dies actually sounds a lot more interesting than the original. (I was sooo jealous of the woman next to me, she actually fell asleep).

  10. Am surprised at all the negative comments about the show. Anyone I’ve talked to enjoyed it. I think people have to look at the show itself and stop comparing it to the original. It may be a ‘continuation’ of the love story but it should be based on its own merits. People seem to just want to hate it no matter what. So glad I’m more open-minded. Can’t wait to see it.

  11. If anyone had the displeasure of reading Phantom of Manhattan, well before this ‘sequel’ came out, they would have been justified in their complaints. Everyone was hoping ALW would NOT stick to that particular story – it went against everything that we loved about POTO. I’m not really understanding the comments against the complaints – that we should give it a chance. Well, I’ve given that book a chance and was terribly disappointed with the story. Since the ‘sequel’ has almost the same story, why would I not be disappointed again?!?

  12. The writer of this “review” loves ever show she has reviewed for this site. The reviews are all raves. It’s hardly surprising she like Love Never Dies; she likes everything.

  13. Can’t say the story sounds all that original, engaging or indelible, but a lot will depend on the execution. I’ll reserve judgment until I see the show.

  14. The indication is that Phantom and Christine did the dirty on the night before her wedding to Raoul, ie after they’d had a bit of a job escaping from him. It stretches belief beyond compare really.
    The fact of the matter is though that these are characters with whom we’re familiar, the strapline of the show is “the story continues” for God’s sake, so to pretend that this is a standalone story with no connection to POTO whilst using those characters in order to get people through the door, is really quite disingenuous.

  15. I saw it on monday and thought it was pretty terrible. On the plus side, it did make Woman In White look fast paced. Nothing much happens in the whole 2.5 hours apart from some singing on a fairly bare stage. The way they shoe horn in some excuse for the kid is ridiculous and that’s why it’s glossed over in 2 lines I would imagine. As if Christine would go back to the Phantom the night before she gets married just for a shag. And it just gets worse from there on. Singing medusa heads, some four handed gorrila thing from Battlestar Galactica playing the organ, a balloon with the childcatcher and some of his friends in, …

  16. Thank God I didn’t have to pay for the ticket, anybody who does needs their head examined. So boring. Nothing memorable about the show. A local theatre dramatic society would have done better. As for the kid…say no more. Very poor Andrew. Must try harder. Your worst to date.

  17. To all those who are commenting without seeing this show – basically who are you to comment! This was the most amazing show I have seen in a long time and how dare people bad mouth something they know nothing about! Before you have anything to say go see it. Dont make false assumptions. This is the first time I have ever written on one of these discussion sites but I feel it necessary. I understand that it may not be to everyones taste, but I never understand why some of you can be so nasty and rude. Like I say, if you have nothing good to say – keep quiet. There is enough negativity in this world. Dont add to it!

  18. When I heard that this musical was based off of Frederick Forsyth’s Phantom of Manhattan, I was extremely warry. Forsyth wrote the book as a sequel to Webber’s musical, and stated in the author’s introdution that Gaston Leroux was wrong about what happend to the Phantom, and that Webber (born almost a century later) had all the facts right… Okay, if that doesn’t scream nut-job, I don’t know what does.

    I’ll give Webber credit for creating some really beautiful pieces for this musical, but as a whole, it is horrible. Raoul (the origional Leroux version and the Webber Phantom of the Opera version) was always protective and loving towards Christine since he first saw her. So, to make him this abusive alcoholic SOB completely destroys the sentimentality of his and Christine’s duet “All I ask of You.”

    At the end of the origional, Erik realizes that Christine truely does love Raoul, and that by forcing her to live with him was not what he wanted if it meant that she was unhappy. That is what we loved about the Phantom. With this whole thing about her realizing that she really loved Erik more than Raoul and going with him… Really? If she actually loved Erik more than Raoul in the first place then why toy with Raoul’s emotions in the origional? It makes no sense!

    I for one don’t wish to see this. The music was enough to set my head spinning. And to base it off of a book so badly written as Phantom of Manhatten just adds to it.

  19. I went to see “Love Never Dies” last night (24th Feb) and had modest expectations of the evening. I have long enjoyed Andrew’s music and his stage shows and was anticipating something special. However, I have to report that it was the most excruciating experience I have ever had in a theatre. There was no “magic”, no spectacle and no style. There is a very weak plot, very ordinary production, and long rambling scenes with terrible music. The only moments when it seemed like things might get better were when snippets from the original Phantom score appeared. I think it was the worst evening I have ever spent in a theatre – and towards the end I felt as though I were watching a bad local am-dram production.

    In fairness, I think the performers, particularly Phantom and Christine, were doing a good job, but there was simply not the material for them to work with. “Till I hear you sing” was the only memorable song/theme and did, fleetingly, evoke feelings that this could be something special.

    For £135, I think it is perfectly justifiable for theatregoers to express displeasure – especially when the show is quite so bad as “Love Never Dies”. The general audience reaction to the show was to clap politely in the appropriate places, but there were many people talking to each other, and chuckling at what were supposed to be poignant moments.

    Andrew, if you read this, I beg, beseech and implore you not to allow this show to premiere. In its present form, this show cannot possibly be well-received in the West End, and will not be anywhere near acceptable for Broadway. I think it will do considerable damage to your reputation, unless you make very significant changes.

    Just for the record, I have no editorial bias in writing this review. I am a member of the public who was very much looking forward to spending a magical evening in the theatre – and who left at least £135 out of pocket, wondering how this show was ever thought good enough to put on a London stage.

  20. I find it very interesting reading the negative comments, especially from those who’ve never even seen the show yet, and cannot help but wonder if their protests arise because they prefer R/C and are upset by the idea of anything else? Or perhaps are upset by the ending (which the ending to an opera is always tragic.)
    This is a work of fiction, put on by a man who has his own idea of what the Phantom of the Opera entails … the original GL story itself is not based on fact but imagination. And this is ALW’s own adaptation of a classic.

    Gaston Leroux originated the tale. Through the years, others have come up with their own ideas, producing books and movies. And Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to make his own views of it as well, making it clear in interviews and such that he always saw that Erik (Phantom) not only loved Christine but that Christine loved Erik. (for the movie, Joel Schumacher, the screenplay writer and director, said the same). So I guess what it boils down to is this: if you prefer the 19th century “canon” version, with an R/C ending, you won’t like LND. But if you like something unique and different- try it out.

    Don’t knock someone’s ideas of what could have happened … Christine was always drawn to Erik in the stage show (and movie), always going to him and leaving or running from Raoul – as obssessed with the Phantom as he was with her. So her inability to stay away from the Phantom after he told Raoul to take her and leave IS feasible, for the idea that E & C could have conceived a child together later.

    Remember … it’s ALL only fiction.
    Including Gaston Leroux’s classic, though as a former news journalist, he did put a spin on it, making it seem real.

  21. Spot on, honey! Well put. I saw LND last night and thought it was really good. I listened to people at intermission and talked to friends, etc. Also, it is the previews so things will tighten up-like any other show. Ramin and Sierra are awesome. Everyone seemed to luv it though I’m sure there were some who didn’t and that’s fine. I went to a play one time that I felt was absolute rubbish and people were applauding like mad and saying “Bravo”. I thought, “did I miss something?” I didn’t trash it though-to each his/her own.

    Who doesn’t like a love story? Having said that, not everyone likes every show so you may not like this one but people shouldn’t trash it (especially not having seen it in some cases). So it’s not your cup of tea, move on.

    I’m glad no one has never done anything that might not have been in their best interest like sleep with someone they were drawn to but wasn’t necessarily good for them-so easy to judge but people do things they shouldn’t or you wouldn’t think they would. We’re human and make mistakes. So it isn’t inconceivable to think perhaps in a moment of weakness Phantom and Christine got together and some people likely know it only takes once to make a baby. (My brother in law complained that he thought their baby-making would be his chance to have sex more but they ended up getting pregnant right off.) Have you never met one person that made such an impact on you that you still think about them today even though years have passed and you’ve moved on? And people change when their lives change or when something happens in their lives that has such an effect… some take it all into account and make the best of it and some let it change them for the worse so again not inconceivable that maybe the Phantom might soften to some degree over the years and Raoul’s personality might change. It happens.

    If they stayed the same characters, what would be the point? You may as well just keep Phantom of the Opera. Well, it’s not Phantom of the Opera. Different year, different country, different man, different show.

    Peace to all.

  22. I was lucky enough to go last night and thought it was wonderful. I absolutely loved the music and thought the Phantom and Christine were amazing.

    I didn’t want it to end.

  23. “It’s all fiction,” true. But there’s good and bad fiction, and everything about the LND plotline stinks to high heaven. Telling people they shouldn’t be negative when they are expressing their opinions is a bunch of nonsense. I notice nobody is willing to engage the people who HAVE seen the show and have nothing but bad things to say about it. Afraid to do so, perhaps? And claiming it’s wrong for someone to disagree with you while you disagree with them is hypocrisy.

    The changes in the characters are extreme and nonsensical. I don’t have to see the show to know that; I only have to read reviews as detailed as this one. This review is a puff piece and the people naysaying its critics are merely demonstrating a blind loyalty to a man who deserves none. No artist is above criticism, whatever his prior body of work may be.

    The audiences will vote with their wallets. The rest is mere commentary.

  24. saw it tonight with 3 friends.Our universal opinion was that this was a truly dreadful show.the plot was so thin as to be transparent,the “rhyming” was cheap greeting card at best aqnd the music was derivative.the sets weere poor,especially the aerie which bore a strong resemblance to a yorkie having a bad hair day.The phantom had 2 sounds:loud and soft,and no upper register.one applauded when he stopped singing,it was such a relief.Hopefully this musical will die the death it so richly deserves.

  25. Today, I saw it. It was like Eastenders. Christine became Stacey Slater. However, Ramin’s voice was fantastic!

  26. Saw the show. I’m the biggest fan of the first show and HATED the idea of a sequel but had to see it anyway…….. but Oh dear the plotline is terrible, it really couldn’t have been any worse, not only was it weak but it was in no way engaging on any level clearly no thought had been put into it.

    One the main problems was that all of the major characters seemed to have completely different personalities from the original? This coupled with the Phantoms new found and frankly unbelievable social abilities and his on/off disgust for his facial distortion actually made it annoying to watch. But what truly did it for me was how he didn’t really seem to mind that Christine died at the end? The passion, mystic, tension and magic of the first have been lost, and that’s a shame if not a surprise.

    But the set design and special effects were brilliant as were the cast, They really held the ‘show’ together, if the cast were to do ‘Phantom’ together it would be second only to the original.

    Love Never Dies is a Great piece of visual theatre but the worst follow up to a story there ever could have been. And any true fan of the original will understand what I mean when I say I haveOne the main problems was that all of the major characters seemed to have completely different personalities from the original? This coupled with the Phantoms new found and frankly unbelievable social abilities and his on/off disgust for his facial distortion actually made it annoying to watch. But what truly did it for me was how he didn’t really seem to mind that Christine died at the end? The passion, mystic, tension and magic of the first have been lost, and that’s a shame if not a surprise.

    But the set design and special effects were brilliant as was the acting and singing, the cast really held the ‘show’ together. And if the cast were to do ‘Phantom’ together it would be second only to the original.

    Love Never Dies is a Great piece of visual theatre but the worst follow up to a story there ever could have been. And any true fan of the original will understand what I mean when I say I have already forgotten the sequel ever existed!

  27. I saw the show (Saturday Matinee 27th Feb) and thought it was fabulous. I’m a fan of the original – I’m a sucker for a good love story and the soundtrack can have me in tears! – and having read a couple of negative reviews decided to go along with an open mind and decide for myself.

    I loved it! I liked the references to the original story, such as starting when everything was all over then watching time go backwards to see the full story. Plus the musical references from POTO such as the tune from the musical box, the ominous notes when we first see the Phantom and he’s ‘obsessing’ over Christine and some bars from AIAOU when Raoul is begging Christine not to sing!

    As I expected tho the music was absolutely new, it had to be it’s set 10 years after the original and written 20 odd years after the original. I loved the ‘rock’ sound produced by the gorilla from ‘Battlestar Gallactica’ lol and the songs Til I Hear You Sing, Look With You Heart, Devil Take The Hindmost and Love Never Dies especially.

    The way the characters had ‘changed’ for me wasn’t a great suprise, after all they are 10 years on from the original. Christine had matured but was still under the spell of the Phantom even tho she wasnt aware of it until she was in his presence again. Raoul was no suprise, how many men stay attentive & loving? Happy ever after does not exist! and as usual realises what he’s lost when its too late. Lastly the Phantom, naturally he would have been able to forge a more ‘normal’ – at least for him – life on Coney Island. After all it was the place to be for freaks & oddities so he would have been able to move about more freely and forge a place for himself.

    I know not everyone has the same tastes and this will not be to everyone’s, however I feel it’s always best to decide things for yourself rather than make a judgment on someone else’s comments so go decide for yourself. Then, like some who have posted here, you may or may not enjoy a great trip to the theatre.

    The emotion that was in the theatre on Saturday was so thick you could have sliced it with a knife, a pin dropping would have been heard at times during the performance as even the usual ‘rustlers’ (you know who you are!) must have held their breathes as the story unfolded. Ok, you can almost anticipate how its going to pan out but come on, we’re not there to watch a complicated story with a multitude of side stories to try & keep up with – you can get the box set of Lost for that!!- but are there for an amazing performance from a superb cast, with fab sets and great music.

    The Standing Ovation – at least from the Stalls and the Dress Circle where I was sitting – was thoroughly deserved!

  28. Ok, if anyone is like me and thought at the end of POTO christine made the wrong decision in leaving with Roaul, then really the plot of LND is feasable. However, to take christines realisation of love being more than on the surface, and then to kill her off, begs the question of whether or not ALW is mental.Also, it is clear from POTO that Meg has feelings for the Phantom, however, to go mentally insane and kill Christine is something that does not ring true to the original – where in my opinion she knows christine loves eric, and thus would not be so surprised by this revalation and kill the poor girl. After saying he didnt want this sequel to resemble to goings on in Phantom of Manhattan – which it clearly has every resemblance too – this is one musical that is rediculous.

    After hearing these reviews, i will not be venturing to see this sequel, in fact if anything, it makes me want to see the original more to burn this from my memory.

    I think what is most upsetting about this whole thing is that it appears to undo everything that was magical about POTO, and for this i am saddened. My final rant is that i dont understand how when directing the 2004 POTO movie, ALW puts in the ending that on christines grave she lives to be a fruitful age (i cant remember exactly but i think its 62?) however, he undoes his own work, and kills her at 28 just to earn some more money. Such a shame.

  29. We went to see LOVE NEVER DIES on Saturday 27th February. We went knowing more about it, as our son had been involved in the workshop last summer. However, i think our main problem was that due to the size of the venue, (We were sitting in the Upper Circle and at times when the cast moved to the front of the stage, everyone had to lean forward) they could not re-create the same intimate atmosphere as in the workshop, where it had such a dramatic impact on the audience (IT REALLY DID HAVE PEOPLE IN TEARS).
    ALW needs a more intimate small theatre to re-create that same atmosphere to connect with the audience, like they have done with the recent OTHELLO they moved venues (Obviously, i understand that they CANNOT do this MONEY,talks if you get my drift!!!) ANYONE GOING TO THE SHOW UNLESS THEY ARE IN THE STALLS OR FRONT MIDDLE CIRCLE WILL STRUGGLE TO GET THE INTIMATE FEELING FOR THE SHOW. Ramin & Sierra were brilliant (Ramin is a fantastic Phantom and his singing is a joy to listen too) Costumes, special effects great, although we felt the stage was a bit too minimal at times.
    WE LEFT THE SHOW FEELING SOMETHING WAS MISSING! AFTER MANY DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN US, IN OUR OPIONION IT COULD ONLY BE THE VENUE. ANYONE WHO HAS NOT SEEN THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA MAY STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND THIS STORY, AS DID MY FATHER lol!! we should of left him at home. BUT, AT THE END OF THE DAY – IT WAS A VERY ENJOYABLE EVENING, MUSIC IS BRILLIANT. ***WE RECOMMEND YOU SEE IT -JUST WATCH WHERE YOU SIT.****

  30. Has anyone else noticed that the song ‘Love Never Dies’ is the same song as ‘Our Kind of Love’ written for ‘The Beautiful Game’?

  31. In reply to Ashley, Meg did not kill Christine deliberately. She was looking to end her own life but the Phantom tried to talk/sing her out of it. He was succeeding but unfortunately called her Christine at the end in error, Meg stepped away from him in anger/anguish and the gun went off accidentally hitting Christine. As she lay dying she forgave Meg and told Gustave who his real father was.

  32. I agree with Angel. I think what amazes me most as I read these reviews is that people don’t feel there should be growth or change in the characters – it’s been 10 years! How many people do you know who stay the same after a decade’s time? And with their rocky drama of before, it makes sense to me … Christine loved the Phantom all along. That’s clear. But she was frightened of the world he inhabited. She proved to him she wasn’t frightened of his face when she kissed him so passionately at the end of PotO. After leaving the lair that night, at some point later she went to him, to be with him, her true choice. She had decided. He had one night with her then he left, sure she would be disgusted come morning, and ashamed of himself that he’d given into his desire for her.

    In those days especially losing virginity and being unmarried was a BIG thing. Big enough that if she then was upset and hurt by what she viewed as Phantom’s disinterest or betrayal – and later discovered she was pregnant with Phantom’s child, she would marry Raoul to give the baby a name and prevent any scandal. Especially if she didn’t think Phantom wanted anything to do with her anymore, after she woke up in an empty bed and discovered he’d left. And Raoul was always there to save her (in PotO).

    That Raoul should turn to drinking makes sense too – because he knew all along she loved the Phantom, (“Say you love him, and my life is over”) and did he also know that Gustave was Phantom’s son all along? If so, that would make Raoul a very bitter man indeed. Married to a woman who doesn’t love him as deeply as he wishes, who in her heart always has and will love the Phantom she wishes to be with. And so, upset with the turn of events – Raoul tries to forget through drinking and gambling.

    Then we have Meg, having grown up knowing of the Phantom, her mother being his servant. For 10 years, Meg also becomes his servant and develops a fascination for him – thinking Christine is out of the picture – thinking maybe now Phantom might forget and look at her. She’d devoted a decade to this dream? But instead, one day Phantom brings Christine to work there, their love never having died. And in that hurtful moment, Meg’s dream does die. There really wasn’t enough about Meg in original to formulate her character solidly, since she was a secondary, so that she could have “snapped” is also believable to me.

    It also makes sense that Phantom’s character would have softened a bit in LND- he had Christine’s love, he knew that now, by the proof of not only her kiss, but also the night she came to him and they made love (even if he felt he’d dishonored her afterward) – so it would change how he felt about himself in those 10 years, even if he still despises his face, even if he thinks (wrongly) that Christine regretted what they’d done. He knew at one point (he thought only for that) he had Christine’s love too. Later he finds out he’s always had it. To find he has a son would soften any man of the Phantom’s sensitive artist nature, because Gustave is a part of himself and Christine, the woman he loves. For the Phantom, it was always all about Christine, so to know he shared those special moments with her would help him in his growth of being able to go out and live among others – since she had freely accepted him. Still, his old wounds run deep and running a freak carnival is the closest he can come to that.

    So, my real question- are people upset that it wasn’t an R/C story– with a ravaged and tragic dark Phantom who would never know love in the end? Is that what the real problem is? That no one feels the Phantom had a right to find love with the woman of his dreams and be happy because of all he’d done before? Are they upset because it’s clearly an E/C (Erik- “Phantom”- Christine) story? And ALW obviously prefers E/C as a couple, through all the mediums of this story he’s created, including the Phantasia CD?

    It really does make me wonder.

    This is not the “original” Gaston Leroux – he had his own views. So did Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. And he put his ideas and preferences into his own creation.

    At one time, I said I never would see this because I didn’t think a sequel could work and I had some wrong ideas with the rumors going around of what would happen (i.e, Phantom making love to mannequin, which DIDN’T happen) – now, I eagerly look forward to seeing it! 🙂 I’m very intrigued, and though I hate it that Christine had to die – it IS an opera (even if it is a rock opera). And all operas end tragically.

    So the BEST to Sir Andrew! I hope your dream lives on and never dies.

  33. Well spotted Jo, ALW states in the theatre program for LND “But with the Phantom sequel definitely abandoned in my mind, I used the chorus of the melody in the Beautiful Game, the musical I wrote with Ben Elton”

  34. Ah, thanks Angel. At least he admits it! I was listenning to it on the Jonatan Ross show thinking,”I know this song, I know this song”! It took me a while to remember where I had heard it though….

  35. In reply to Ashley- this wasn’t a sequel to the movie. It was a sequel to the stage show – a continuing story that ALW said is “stand alone”.

    The stage show and the movie were both different mediums. Same sort of an E/C idea. But different in the way it was presented.

  36. I went this evening to see the show with an open mind and was not clouded by any prejudgements of other peoples comments. It’s a real shame that I have to say that from all the years of going to see West End shows, this is one of the biggest turkeys I’ve seen. It’s on a par with the dreadful Woman in White some time back.

    The positives of the show are the excellent set design and projections and the real pleasure you get to hear such an accomplished orchestra playing. You can see that the cast have real talent it’s a shame they weren’t used well.

    So what is the problem with the show… well… the story and the dreadful score. You could have wrote the script on the back of a postage stamp, it was so flimsy and pathetic that it made the hours just drag by. Where was the tension, the passion, the depth that was in the original. It felt like this was made for lowest common denominator of theatre goer.

    I appreciate that melodies need to be repeated but there wasn’t anything interesting or innovative about this score. Shame on you Mr Webber… you should put more effort into your work.

    If I was you I’d save your money. Go spend your money on far better shows in the west end where there is at least some creative spark worth still celebrating.

  37. Well well well, huge fan of Phantom and so is my partner, seen it on Broadway and UK many times and loved the movie too. Now we both kept an open mind, you have too it’s a new show. We had first night tickets but that was cancelled hence last night.

    Ok well so VERY sadly it’s true what people are saying, so very sad!

    The magic’s poor, nice modern screen projection effects 10/10 which where very good but that’s it really, where’s everything else? The sets where so minimalist with no magical breathtaking effects like the first and yes the storyline of “oh yes we had sex sometime and he’s your son” is a cheap shot, it’s so weak, so poor, such a shame.

    Also the phantoms entrance was so poor he just walks onto the stage and waits behind poor basic set doors” what’s that all about, so weak? I even saw someone getting changed lol!

    On the plus side the music was nice (nice), bit bland sadly at times and very samely not earthmoving and yes thank god for the original show music drop inn’s to add something to bring a touch of life somehow, not that you should have needed them.

    To end on a positive the phantom was totally superb! He made something from the blandness that the show is.

    And what say’s it all, well not many people stood up at the end, a hand full, hardly any whistles and people where just not emotionally moved in the lobby’s on the way out and the vibe was not WOW from people, some expressed the serious disappointment, and it’s the first week, what more needs to be said.

    Such a wasted opportunity, 20 years in the making, honestly?.

  38. Going back to the point I made before (the poorly edited one further up the page) I realise that the characters would maybe change to an extent over the ten years that have passed but a COMPLETE change of personality?
    Also no matter how you look at it a man that has never known anything but solitude all his life (with the exception of the odd visit from Madame G.)would never be a able to become even half a ‘normal’ socialably exceptable behaving human.

  39. Going back to the point I made before (the poorly edited one further up the page) I realise that the characters would maybe change to an extent over the ten years that have passed but a COMPLETE change of personality?
    Also no matter how you look at it a man that has never known anything but solitude all his life (with the exception of the odd visit from Madame G.)would never be a able to become even half a ‘normal’ socially acceptable behaving human.

  40. Went to see this a couple of nights ago. I went in with an open mind but was secretly hoping I would be amazed. Sadly, I wasn’t. As others have already said, the characters seemed like a bunch of totally different people. I could feel no connection to the original characters at all. The Phanton didn’t seem like any kind of Phantom – What happened to the menacing, angry, bad guy we all loved so much? Seemed to me like Raoul and Phantom swapped characteristics completely! Very mediocre, didn’t feel at all like a sequal to POTO, a very wishy washy affair, poor scenery, no ‘wow’ factor at all. Disappointed to say the least. I won’t be rushing to see it again – ever. I believe they should have just left well alone.

  41. I have watched phantom of the opera on stage, breathtaking. i’ve seen the movie and Gerard butler is one sexy phantom *Grr!* the sequel is a beautiful idea-he gets the girl, but she dies, the phantom has the worst luck huh, its his fault she’s dead if he never decided to call her over-she would not of died. the movie shows her gravestone (on the end) so that could of been how she died, but raoul as an alchoholic? maybe he learnt of his son not being his, or his wifes red hot passion for another man?-still unlikely as he’s a girlish boy who loves christine and crys alot in the book.If you don’t agree with the sequel here is an idea: DONT WATCH IT! dont even think about you’re phantom ended and disappered in the night..SIMPLE!. others may want the love story to continue, you are all aloud you’re own opinions but don’t ruin it for someone else. others may want the phantasy love story to continue to see where the phantom went, i always thought he would use meg as a rebound, [in the book she’s obsessed with him] but who knows, its andrews take on the beautiful story, i dont agree with christine dying. more of a lovely ending e.g “Erik, christine and gustave lived in coney island as a family, gustave had a loving father and christine had her angel of music,the end” somthing more simple yet has the AWW-factor! or jelousy meg giry has the phantom and christine gets jelous, everyone loves a catfight :]. everyone has there own ideas of how the phantom lives the rest of his life. everyone has there own take on things. =]

  42. Having read the plot and listened to the CD (cuz i havn’t seen it from Australia yet!) I have to say it’s VERY ALW. I think if you weren’t expecting a ‘sequel’ to the original along these lines… well, I certainly was. It’s opera! Like the soundtrack which I have been waiting for forever.. Have to say Phantom has a unique and very rich voice. Love Christine.

  43. I think the point of the complete change is to show that making a bad life-altering choice can affect so many and completely change them…

    Raoul never had Christine’s love – not like she felt for the Phantom- but her fear of the world Phantom lived in, etc, made her leave with Raoul. If she had truly always loved Raoul, she would have never gone to the Phantom and made love with him. That, I think, is the point ALW was trying to make- she DID love the Phantom, always would. HE was her choice. So that love did change him, to where he could go out among others (if being the manager of a Coney Island freak show could be called that)- is credible- also that he gained confidence through that, which led him to be able to go to places like the bar. Yes, he changed from an angry, bad, menacing Phantom, into a more gentler man because he WAS human and Christine showed him her love. Love can change anyone. Her kiss at the end of PotO made him decide to forget all his plans for vengeance and let her go, before the mob could get there. ONE kiss did that. Imagine… never mind. 🙂

    He left before morning came, ashamed by what he’d done and thinking she would be appalled that she’d loved a monster. I don’t think she still meant to marry Raoul when she went to the Phantom- I think he was her choice. (could be wrong, but it fits). But when Phantom left her and she was with child, I believe she turned to Raoul for help. I also believe Raoul knew from the start (since he showed no surprise about it in stage show.) And THAT can turn a man very bitter- to raise his enemy’s son and know that his wife has the Phantom in her heart always, that the Phantom is Christine’s true love? I don’t doubt Christine loved Raoul- but never like she did the Phantom. The love for Raoul was more like she would show a friend, someone she felt grateful toward… this is NOT Gaston Leroux’s Phantom, it is ALW’s. His novel concept of an old idea.

    I think it very believable that the characters changed in such ways – all because of Christine’s love for the Phantom – a love that NEVER DIED. Meaning it was always there. In PotO too (she was just too frightened to allow it to grow, but after she left that night, she looked for and found the Phantom, going back to him. That tells me she always loved him.)

    So these “changes” are all part and parcel of the decision she’d made at the end of PotO- the decision we saw. Leaving with Raoul after showing her love for the Phantom. I NEVER saw an R/C love – it seemed too juvenile to endure the strength of marriage. It was more teenage romance type stuff. But the Phantom she was drawn to as a woman.

    LND is the evidence of all that …

    I guess when people say it’s poorly written- you mean because the Phantom didn’t act maniacal or threaten everyone, ending up alone and in despair, and R/C didn’t end up together and running from him… To me, that would have just been the same ole, same ole and a remake of the first. An old concept and pretty boring.

    I LOVE this idea for the new concept he’s done – showing E/C as the couple always meant to be. Again, HIS views put into HIS work (forget about the book)- this was ALW’s interpretation.

    I hate it that she had to die- but it is an opera! So something tragic had to happen to the main characters in the end … but I love that he left it on a hopeful note with Phantom and Gustave becoming father and son, the Phantom now always having a part of himself and Christine, in their child who accepted him. No poorly written phanphic there! 🙂

  44. Want to clarify this:

    I guess when people say it’s poorly written- you mean because the Phantom didn’t act maniacal or threaten everyone, ending up alone and in despair, and R/C didn’t end up together and running from him… To me, that would have just been the same ole, same ole and a remake of the first. An old concept and pretty boring.

    When I said the last, I didn’t mean that the original show was old and boring- lol- not at all! I LOVE the movie version of PotO, my favorite movie on my top 10 list- and I have seen the stage show online too (I had bought a ticket to go to it but wasn’t able to. 🙁 ) . what I meant was that to do all of that a second time, using the same PotO character and story idea for LND – but in a different way would have been “old stuff”.

  45. Hi all. We saw the show on 25th February. I am one of those who didn’t like it at all. One of the worst thing I found in it is Christine singing too much opera style. I am Italian and I do love musicals because they use natural voice singing and not Opera, so I disliked it. Expecially Love Never Dies, the title song which was such a gorgeous song in The Beautiful Game under the name of Our Kind Of Love. I believe this is the 4th of a long series of unsuccessful Webber’s musicals -even though I suggest libretist and director did the worst job. Till I hear you sing and a few more lines were Webber’s music at its high, the rest was very much like Opera read ‘no theatre music’, but ‘just music’. Go and see it and have your opinion, but quickly as I don’t think it will last too long.

  46. I have to say what a mix of reviews. I have booked tickets and cant wait to see the show. ALW has always said that this is a stand alone show and i always had Raoul down as that sort of character, he was rich and dashing. He must have always known that christine loved the phantom, one of the last things we see in the stage show is christine giving the Phantom a big old snog and looking lovingly at him as she sales off with Raoul. So to me this story is believable. I think people have to go with an open mind, this is an ALW show and he knows what he’s doing, he knows how teh industry works and how to work the press. It is very true that you should never see a show till a month after previews, its called previews for a reason. Even if this flops (which i doubt it will) look at the global following the ill-fated CARRIE now has. I have read bad reviews about wicked and when i saw the show was completly blowen away. Dont knock it till you have tried it, I like the idea of the characters being different i meen it is many yrs on. I for one after reading these reviews cant wait to the show even more now.

  47. I wanted to add one more thing: I read Phantom of Manhattan. I hated it and would have tossed it in the fire, but it was a friend’s book. lol The character changes were totally unbelievable with regard to the way they were represented in PotO (i.e.- showing Phantom had raped Christine and she still feared him throughout most of book until very end, etc,) – LND sounds nothing like this! The characters (thank God!) ALW made more believable, as far as how they progressed through ALL he showed in his original show and movie. No rape, no “spell”- all about love. (All I Ask of You was an act of desperation on Christine’s part, to try to escape what she feared – not a true pledge of undying love. Read the lyrics- they’re all about – promise me- take me away! Help me! Do this and I’ll spend a life with you – She always relied on Raoul as her friend, to save her. But that’s not true love…)

    POM took place during a Civil War play. ALW’s took place at a magical fantasy land that the Phantom created – something he would do (remember Don Juan and Point of No Return? How “shocking” that was (for the time period) and how the opera audience looked horrified to see it and hear it? It’s believable to me he would manage a burlesque type freak show- but not in a way to extort or hurt them. Because he considered himself one of them, through all he had suffered – they were like his family.

    The only comparison I can see to POM and LND is the ending. Different characters shooting gun (Raoul in POM) but same idea- Christine dies, Gustave finds Phantom is his father and accepts him.

    Still, the book didn’t make it seem believable because of the inconsistency of characterization and their actions and feelings throughout entire story.

    ALW, in my opinion from what I’ve read of many reviews, professional and amateur, heard from friends who saw show, and have seen of pictures- made it very believable.

    LND is a far cry from POM…

  48. TODAY IN “DAILY MAIL” I WAS DISCUSTED WITH THIS…

    A QUOTE FROM ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER – HIS RESPONSE TO FANS WHO HAVE EXPRESSED THEIR FEELING ABOUT LOVE NEVER DIES AND HAVE KEPT HIS PHANTOM SHOWS FULL BOOKED FOR TWENTY YEARS TO PUT MILLIONS IN HIS BANK ACCOUNT!

    “A SAD CULTURE OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE ONLY BY THE OLD PHANTOM OF THE OPERA”

    “SAD CULTURE” HOW DARE YOU

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