If you are acquainted with me through Facebook, Twitter or a close friend or relative, you will know that pretty much a large portion of my life is Phantom. The reasons why I love Phantom as much as I do, is a topic for a blog all on its own. This blog, however, is my experience of seeing Phantom for the 32nd time Thursday 10th April.
I was also meeting up with the lovely Alex, Annie and Dawn, who share my passion for Phantom. To me, Her Majesty’s Theatre, the home of Phantom since it began, is one of the most beautiful theatres ever. From the beautiful victorian mouldings in the foyet to the gorgeous interior of the auditorium, you can almost imagine a Phantom stalking in the theatre after everyone has gone home.
My favourite place to sit is either in the Grand Circle or the balcony. The views are amazing and, without any spoilers, you can see absolutely everything.
I had heard great things about Geronimo Rauch, the Phantom who had taken over from Marcus Lovett in August 2013. I was expecting great things from my 8th Phantom. Every “Phantom” I’ve seen has been my favourite for some aspect that they’ve brought to the role. Geronimo was something else. My ultimate Phantom has always been and will be Michael Crawford, but Geronimo comes a very close second.
The Mirror Scene is the first time we physically see the Phantom, and from then I was hooked. Geronimo was for me, the embodiment of the Phantom, yes he loves Christine so hes soft and his voice reflects it. The Phantom gets angry with Christine, and hes scary. He threatens the Managers and you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, he cackled as he interrupted “Il Muto” and you knew he meant it.
The Graveyard Scene is an indication to me of how good the Phantom is. Ever since I heard the original cast album, and Michael Crawford singing “Wandering Child, so lost, so helpless” it sends shivers down my spine. Every Phantom I have seen does that and Gero was no exception.
The Final Lair is also important. Every Phantom has had me in tears at this scene and again Gero had me sobbing! At times he was extremely scary and quite physical and if I was playing Christine (I can dream can’t I!) I’d be quite scared, but you still had to feel for him. The first and final kiss Phantom ever had, the embrace from Christine, knowing that the Phantom was going to lose was heartbreaking. Which is all what a Phantom should be. I was so happy to meet Geronimo at Stage Door after, and almost couldn’t believe it was the same person as I’d just seen on the stage, he was so sweet and looked genuinely surprised and happy that we had waited to greet him.
Harriet Jones played such a beautiful Christine with a voice to match. You could totally understand and believe that both Raoul and the Phantom both loved her and yet, she could still stand up for herself.
Unfortunately for all “Raouls” I’m always on the side of The Phantom, but Sean Palmer played an amazing Raoul. He has a wonderful voice and just right for a handsome hero.
Even the orchestra sounded bigger and even better, the sounds were richer and sublime. The Phantoms Overture will always be my most favourite piece of music ever, and the orchestra just blew me away.
In summary, Geronimo played the Phantom to perfection, an almost Lon Chaney Phantom. Harriet played a beautiful Christine and Sean a perfect handsome hero. Every cast member and orchestra member plays an important role in the success of Phantom, and this cast is one I want to see again and again.