There’s a stall that sells theatre tickets for half price at Leicester Square, so I went there in the morning. It opened only at 12 noon, so rather than waiting, I just bought tickets for the balcony. 15.50 pounds didn’t seem to much. The musical was “The Phantom of the Opera”, running at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
There were 6 of us, and we went to the show. That was when I realized why the tickets were so cheap. They were on the second row of the third floor. Which meant that we had to crane our necks to see anything. What made it worse was that the lady in front of me refused to sit still. But after a while, I got used to it.
Well, one can see why it’s been running house full for the last 10-15 years. The visual effects are amazing. The play begins with an auction of a chandelier which fell during a performance at an opera in France. It is rumoured that the chandelier was caused to fall by the ‘Phantom of the Opera’. We go back in time (special effects). There’s this girl who’s been learning music from the Phantom, and he loves her, but she loves Raoul, who loves her. So the Phantom is angry, and does bad things, but finally gets a bout of conscience and unites them. That’s the plot.
But you wouldn’t think it when watching the show. The music is spell-binding, and performed real-time. When the Phantom takes Catherine to his den, they row over a lake made of smoke. Near Catherine’s father’s grave, there’s a lovely effect of water puddles. At this point, the Phantom appears and there’s some great fireworks also. What’s even more impressive is the coordination of the staff to get all these HUGE sets in place from scene to scene. The largest was a huge staircase, which must have weighed several tonnes. Sure, they must have had wheels. But still, it’s a feat to marvel at. Put all this in with the music, and you get an experience that’s more gripping than any movie that I’ve seen. The 3 hours flew by like the blink of an eyelid.
Well, not quite. Although I felt myself in the 17th century right through, there was one small interruption. Towards the end, when Christine was softly sobbing to Raoul, the atmosphere was broken by the ring of a mobile. That moment was almost like snapping back from a vision to reality.
Now, how can I stop myself from seeing “The Lion King”?