It’s been really tough to follow the trial in Oslo for the last week. The terrorist has been on the stand for the past week, ending yesterday. I applaud the work of the lawyers involved, this is tough enough to watch from a distance. To deal with this calmly and professionally is something I don’t think I would be able to do.
There is a lot of talk about whether or not the terrorist is sane in the eyes of the law. There are many good arguments for both views, but something that seems clearer to me now is that the terrorist himself desperately wants to be ruled sane. His world view and justification for his actions all rests on the premise that he is a soldier in a war, that his actions were necessary. Deeming him sane and sentenced to a prison sentence for the rest of his life would partially validate it to him. He is fighting hard against being viewed as mentally unstable in any way. If it was up to him, he’d be sentenced to death, and he’d be a martyr like he wanted all along. But we haven’t sentenced anyone to death since the post-WW2 days, and the last person executed in Norway was in 1948. We’re not changing our laws for this case.
I’ve seen a lot of articles and heard a lot of people that argue the point that ruling him to be criminally insane would be letting him off lightly. Firstly, don’t let there be any mistake about this: Breivik is never walking the streets of Norway again as a free man. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, that’s never going to happen. The Norwegian justice system does have a maximum sentence of 21 years, this is true. But that doesn’t mean that someone who is ruled a continued danger to society is automatically let out after 21 years. There are laws in place to prevent that, after 21 years he can be held to another three years at a time for the rest of his life.
Secondly, it’s starting to become really clear that in his eyes, being sent to a mental institution would be the ultimate failure and the worst punishment. If the system deems him to be criminally insane, it means we’re not taking his manifesto, his great plan, his important “work”, seriously. We’re dismissing him entirely. Nothing could be worse for him. As was put very nicely in the Norwegian paper Aftenposten, he sees himself as a knight, and “It simply would not do to send a knight to the nut house”. (Link to Norwegian article)
Is he actually insane? I don’t know. I almost want to see him be ruled insane anyway, if nothing else to wipe that annoying smile off his face. And if he is ruled insane, I want him to have so much therapy that he eventually aren’t able to distance himself from what he did anymore, to fully realise what he’s done. And I want the faces of all those dead teens to haunt him until his dying day.
If you are linked to this post from anywhere and don’t know the context, please google ‘Norway 22 july 2011′.
I am in awe of prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh. I want to send this woman flowers. She is strong and relentless in her questioning of the terrorist, and he is frequently annoyed by her. I have been deeply impressed with her self control in this really difficult job and how she refuses to let him run the show, much to his annoyance. At times, she made him look absolutely ludicrous. It’s beautiful. She is absolutely amazing. I’ve linked to a bio of her below.
I believe he is even more annoyed with having to listen to her questions as she is a woman and he clearly believes a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Yes, you can add misogynist to the list of traits of the terrorist.
It’s tough to read the notes from the trial. Today’s especially bad, as it’s his testimony about what happened at Utøya island. Thankfully, all the gory details aren’t posted where I’m reading, but apparently he’s describing the shootings in details. He seems entirely cold. He is a horrible, horrible person.
Oh yes, there was a quick talk about his gaming habits, like how he played World of Warcraft for about a year after he moved back in with his mother. ABB wants to frame this as a gift he gave himself as a sabbatical before going ahead with the martyrdom, to which I can only say yeah, sure. That’s believable. He is deeply obsessed with how he’s viewed and doesn’t want to be seen as someone who lost all his investments and then got addicted to WoW. This is obviously how it really went down, no matter what he says. It has little relevance to the trial in anything else than a piece of evidence proving how he’s re-imagined his past to fit in with this story of his that he planned the operation for ten years, which from the testimony so far seems completely false. That’s all. Even he says it isn’t relevant. He does say he used another game for “target practice” which seems ridiculous as well.
To be honest, even mentioning this seems like a waste of time because it’s so god damn irrelevant. I know there’s a lot of articles on ye olde internets regarding ABB and WoW, but it’s diverting the attention away from what’s important. This was not a gamer gone mad. This was someone who planned an attack on the Norwegian political system and its people, driven by his political views. Making this a video game discussion is not helping anyone, and it’s not what the trial is about. I’m not going to participate in those discussions.
I still don’t like typing his name. You know who I mean.
The trial in Norway started today. So far, it’s making me physically unwell.
The bbc has the worst part of it described in such simple terms. At one point of the day, surveillance footage from the bombing was shown to the court.
While victims and their families gasped as they saw the blast, followed by scenes of panic as people fled, Breivik smiled on several occasions.
He fucking smiled.
There are no words to fully describe how I feel.
I’ve seen three different productions at the Landor theatre in Clapham this year, three productions that couldn’t be further apart from each other. The Hired Man, a gut-wrenching sad affair that had me crying for five minutes after the applause had ended, Ragtime, a stripped down version of a show set in the early 20th century, and Stand Tall, a contemporary musical with an anti-bullying theme.
Stand Tall started its life at Witchwood School of Rock, a music school for children between 6 and 18. The school was founded by music tutors Lee Wyatt-Buchan and Sandy Chalmers, who wrote Stand Tall along with Aldie Chambers. I was fortunate enough to attend the press night on October 14 in addition to going to a standard open performance the following Sunday with a group of friends, giving me two rather different perspectives of this show.
The story is a re-telling of the classic David and Goliath tale, where David (Ryan O’Donnell) has to overcome not just Goliath (Jack Shalloo), but a blood thirsty King Saul (Martin Pirongs) and the confusing matter of having a girlfriend who happens to be a princess (Natasha J Barnes).
We start with a black sheep (Keisha Amponsa Banson), who finds herself sent to earth to do the will of God. She strides onto the stage in a black outfit complete with high boots and a corset, and turns everyone’s world up side down, with her prophesies, honest talk and the guitar of destiny.
Guitar of destiny, you say? Oh indeed, the weapon David has is not a sling shot, it’s a guitar that only the true King can play. The sheep looks at herself, deduces that a sheep must need a shepherd, and that’s probably who she’s looking for. So she finds her shepherd, hands him the guitar and gets him into trouble by telling the truth about a fair few things that David would like to ignore.
From there to the unsurprising end, David has to face several challenges and grow into a man in order to take his place as the true king. His relationship with Princess Mia, daughter of Saul, suffers from poor communication and the threat of being murdered by King Saul if he ever finds out about the relationship. Goliath, who in this show is a former friend and bandmate of David’s, hears about the prophesy and in a fit of jealous rage confronts David and breaks the Guitar of Destiny. David has to stand up to Goliath, be enough of a man to tell his girlfriend he loves her, and also try to not get himself killed by a king who loves his power. But not all is what it seems with Goliath..
While David, Mia and the Black Sheep played one character each, Martin Pirongs not only played King Saul, who turned out to be less blood thirsty than expected, but also played David’s supportive farther, along with Goliath’s father, the real bully of the piece. Jack Shalloo also switched between the tormented and angry Goliath, and Saul’s comic relief guard. I thought the acting was solid on all of the cast, with Keisha Amponsa Banson lighting up the room as The Black Sheep. I would be very surprised if we don’t see her in a much larger production in the near future. She was by far the strongest member of the ensemble and I could not keep my eyes off her.
Ryan O’Donnell was very believable as the awkward David, although I would’ve liked to see him be a bit more powerful and confident in the final number. Jack Shalloo portrayed the most interesting character, as Goliath was using intimidation and violence to express his frustration and pain, a way of behaviour he’d learnt from home as he was himself bullied by his father. My one criticism is that the character wasn’t given enough space to be really mean and intimidating, and I didn’t really feel like David was all that afraid of him.
I found David’s fear of King Saul to be much more believable, and I thought Martin Pirongs was hilarious as the wanna-be hip King Saul. It was a shame that their conflict was so easily resolved, as it was built up so well and then too easily brushed aside. The fear of Saul was given a lot more time and weight than the fear of Goliath, so it was surprising to see such a quick resolution where Saul gives in straight away with no fight. Sure, that’s completely accurate as far as the Bible goes, but if that’s what we’re going with, Goliath should also have been a threat to Saul, and he’d give up this throne reluctantly because David saves him from Goliath, too. As this is a re-telling I’ll allow for artistic choices on that last one, but hope that this is one part of the show that is given a bit more TLC before the next production.
But I did like how David protects Goliath from his father and the two of them manage to work things out, finding their way back to their friendship. And that’s a more important message, that people can overcome their differences and that you don’t always know why someone becomes a bully in the first place.
Natasha J Barnes had the unfortunate job of playing the least interesting character, Princess Mia was basically a nagging girlfriend who gets upset with David when he can’t put his feelings into words. Hey Mia, I get it. I’ve been there, it sucks. But as a plot point, it’s not all that interesting. That said, I thought Barnes did very well with what she had to work with, and I really liked her singing voice. The chemistry between Barnes and O’Donnell was believable, and their first kiss on stage had a tenderness to it that made me smile. I do wonder though, who is Princess Mia when she isn’t David’s girlfriend? We didn’t really get to know her, and the character suffers from it.
The show started a bit wobbly on Friday, and suffered from some technical difficulties. The sound levels between music and song weren’t always fortunate, and the cast were not all as familiar with mic technique as they could have been. Unusually for a musical, the cast were all using hand-held microphones, which part of the cast seemed comfortable with, and one notable exception looked quite uncomfortable with (I’m looking at you, King). At one point they incorporated the hand held microphone into the choreography with Princess Mia, which was a nice touch.
Musically, I wasn’t that keen on the rap songs as they didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the songs. As individual songs there was a lot I enjoyed, but as a whole I didn’t feel there was a thread running through the songs to bind it all together, which was a shame. And unfortunately, my biggest problem with the show was the lyrics. The rhymes were at times very simplistic and made me cringe a bit (“Why does it have to be this way/I want him night and day”), and that’s probably where I feel the show would benefit from more work.
The Landor Theatre is a very small venue that only seats 60 people, and other productions I’ve seen there have not used microphones or electric instruments at all. It’s not a venue that’s a good fit for a rock musical with regards to sound production. The band were very talented and worked really hard, so it was a shame when I couldn’t hear all the individual instruments. I loved the personal touch that the band were all wearing T-Shirts with the logo of Witchwood School of Rock. The guitarist stood out particularly during the big show down between David and Goliath, which was in the form of a guitar solo battle. Both actors had guitars on them and pretended to play, but you could see that the band guitarist was effectively having a guitar battle with himself – and winning! In a larger venue, perhaps two guitarist would give the music the extra kick it needs.
On the press night, I was seated next to an older couple whose name I sadly cannot recall, who gave me a bit of background to the show as they had seen an earlier production. Originally, the show was performed by kids, and the story was somewhat rewritten from the version that they had previously seen, which did not have a love story element to the plot. I think I would’ve really liked to have seen this show with kids playing the lead roles. Goliath’s songs especially I think would fit better for a younger actor.
It was very interesting to see how the press night audience and the Sunday matinee audience, mostly comprised of kids and parents, responded very differently to the show. To my big surprise, the press night was much more lively and gained a lot more laughter. The kids were a bit more muted as the more raunchy jokes went over their heads, but watched intently. During the latter half of the show, one young man in the front row leaned forward and put his head in his hands, and I had a very hard time holding back giggles.
All in all, I’m not sure Stand Tall quite knows what it wants to be, a show suitable for adults or one more geared towards a younger audience. What I do know is that there’s a lot of interesting things going on here, and that I can absolutely see it being performed by school drama groups. The message is lovely and the show doesn’t hit you over the head with it, which is good. I don’t see it going to a West End audience in its current incarnation, but there is a lot of promise in the show and I hope the creative team keeps building on what they had, which is perfectly charming show right now, into something stronger and more powerful. It misses a few targets at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes back in a few years, whipped into shape and ready to take on a bigger venue.
A week ago, I saw Love Never Dies in the West End, the day before it closed. I had heard very little good about the show, a sequel to the long running Phantom of the Opera, and decided to go simply because it was about to close and I got a good deal.
Let me warn you right now, this is going to get really long. Not only are there thoughts about what I saw last Friday, but also the version on the concept album, AKA the musical prior to all the rewrites. There’s so much to say about Love Never Dies, but before I even start, we have to talk about Phantom.
Let’s recap what happens in Phantom of the Opera, for those who are unfamiliar with it! Little mutilated orphan boy is saved from a travelling circus by a dancing teacher who takes him to live in the opera where she works. He grows up in what can best be described as a cave underneath the opera and unsurprisingly doesn’t grow up to be a functioning member of society. The nice version: he’s a bit mad and a genius. The more honest version: He’s a great musician, but a stalker and all-around lunatic who has no scruples or consideration for other people. He is not a nice chap.
Then there’s Christine, little orphan girl who is also taken in by the same dancing teacher, Madame Giry, and grows up with her daughter Meg. They’re like sisters. This will be important later.
From this point, the Phantom effectively grooms Christine by pretending to be a ghost speaking through a mirror and teaching her to sing. Through his couching, and more importantly frequent sabotage activities of the opera, Christine ends up the star of the opera.
Enter Raoul. He’s rich, he’s pretty, he’s mad for Christine. The Phantom promptly loses his shit and kinda kidnaps Christine, taking her to his secret lair where he amongst other things shows her a doll version of her wearing a wedding dress. The Phantom is all like omg I love you and Christine passes out. Later, she wakes up and watches him compose, and takes his mask off. The Phantom loses his shit again. He does this a lot. Then he chills and takes her back.
Then there’s this long big where the Phantom loses his shit again and kills some people and trashes the opera. Christine sensibly decided that perhaps this is too fucked up and turns to Raoul. Love is declared, etc, the Phantom hears, and promptly loses his shit again. Are we detecting a pattern here yet?
Whatever, it doesn’t work out, Christine marries Raoul. The rest is not that important. The more important point is that this is considered a bit of a love story between Christine and the Phantom, and many people would’ve wanted them to end up together.
So in short: Christine, Madame Giry and Meg are like family. Secretly, Madame Giry is also like a mother to the Phantom. Christine marries Raoul and goes off to be rich and happy, and we don’t know what happened to the Phantom. It is implied he still lives.
Time for a breather. Personally, I don’t really like Phantom of the Opera that much. The music isn’t amazing and the story is unbelievable on so many levels, most importantly why would Christine feel any draw to this batshit crazy man after all the fucked up stuff he does? Apparently she’s supposed to be torn between them, but I never could understand why. It has a couple of good songs, but I never fell in love with it.
Before I start writing about the show I saw on Friday, I need to point out that this is a show that went through several rewrites and is very different from the story on the cast album. I will address the latest version of the show first, and then go back to the cast album, which I’ve been listening to all week.
Love Never Dies takes place in USA, more specifically in Coney Island, ten years after the end of the original show. The first scene starts with the previously mentioned Christine doll (which can now walk) and the Phantom lamenting the loss of Christine, and that he won’t feel real again until he hears her sing again. It’s a great song, beautifully performed by the quite frankly delicious Ramin Karimloo, who not only has a great voice, but a gripping stage presence. (Fun fact: he has a cameo as Christine’s father in the 2004 movie, during the time he was playing Phantom in the original show in London.)
I mean, look at this. Phwoar. The passion between the two is unmistakeable.I can see why Christine would like him. From the first scene it seems clear that we’re dealing with a calmer, less crazy Phantom at this point. He probably wouldn’t even kill anyone!
Cut to the introduction of the Coney Island freak show, where there’s weird dancers and singers and it all looks like a lot of fun. It is run by Mdm. Giry, and Meg is the star of the show. They read the paper, and find that Christine with family are on their way to New York, as Christine has been hired to sing at Hammerstein’s new opera house (nice touch). They bitch about about how Christine abandoned The Phantom, but they looked after him and remained true to him. This is my first problem with the show. The Girys were there, they remember what happened. So she abandoned the man who tried to kill her boyfriend. Wow, what a disgrace. Only this part gets kinda ironic later.
Raoul, Christine and their son Gustave arrives in New York, and are picked up by a coach led by three people from the Coney Island show, who pretend they come from Hammerstein, and instead sort of kind of kidnaps them down to Coney Island. No one in the family seems to notice something is up here. Oh and btw, Raoul is a mean drunk who has gambled away all their money, which is why they are here in the first place. They need cash.
At the hotel (Phantom’s house, effectively), Raoul bitches and moans, while Gustave tries to get him to play with him. A message arrives from “Hammerstein” to meet him in the bar, so Raoul leaves. Christine has a tender moment with Gustave before sending him to bed. She picks up the music box her son was playing with, and it plays a melody from the original show. Enter Phantom.
Christine is all like “I should’ve known. This music has you all over it.” That is the music I would assume she’s just gotten and is to perform the following night, which makes no sense. New music? The day before a performance? What? Anyway, they sing a song that is all about how Christine sought out the Phantom the night before she got married and they dun did it in the dark. But he feels bad or something, and runs off. That’s right, let that sink in. The Phantom had sex with Christine and then leaves her in the dark by herself. Nice! So she marries Raoul after all.
….has the penny dropped yet?
The next day, Christine and Raoul are reunited with Meg and Madam Giry, having no idea they would be there. Meg and Madame Giry are just as surprised, not realising until this moment that Christine is due to sing here. At no point do anyone point out that this is not the Hammerstein Theatre. But whatever, logic. Who cares. Meg, who is desperate for the Phantom’s attention, is quite upset. Her mother on the other hand, is angry. Raoul, after going on about the contract and the high fee they have been promised, is informed who the owner of the theatre is, and promptly loses his shit. It’s like a personality switch between him and the Phantom! (Did he have a contract with Hammerstein? I am still not sure how any of this was explained.)
Gustave, who loves all the weirdness of Coney Island, is taken to the phantom to see his “world of illusions”, which includes a hilarious half woman, half skeleton pushing a cart. Basically the legs are a woman’s legs, and the top is a skeleton. I am so sorry I have no picture of this, it’s hilarious. I love the entirety of this scene. Gustav explores the room, at one point picking up a gun, which the Phantom, still looking at his score, casually takes from him and puts away.
Gustave starts playing the piano, playing a song he’s composing about how he things all this is so beautiful. I get a bit annoyed by the kid at this point to be honest, he’s a bit too precious and it gets a bit dull. The Phantom however suddenly gets that holy shit this is totally my kid.
This culminates into this amazing duet called The Beauty Underneath, where the Phantom and Gustave sing about how much they love all the weird shit out there. It’s like a love song to freaks and my favourite song of the show. Unfortunately the Phantom feels a bit too encouraged by all this acceptance and decides to expose his unmasked face to Gustave. Gustave screams like a hyena and runs off.
Enter Christine, and they have a bit of a show down, where he makes her admit that, yeah, totally the Phantom’s kid. The Phantom is delighted! He will give everything he has to his son. But unfortunately Madame Giry hears it all, has a angry rant about it, takes the gun the Phantom left behind and leaves, with a determined look on her face.
End of act one.
At this point, I was delighted. It was exciting, actually a lot of fun, and the music was so much better than in Phantom. Not to mention that the Phantom is in it almost the entire time, unlike the original show where he is not nearly in it enough, in my opinion. So some of it made little sense when put against the original, but I didn’t care so much.
Unfortunately, then act two happened.
Raoul is drunk in a bar. Meg comes bursting in all wet, getting a coffee. Apparently this is where she pops in every morning after swimming. She warns Raoul to take his family and leave, to no avail. Raoul pouts some more, and suddenly the bartender! Is! The Phantom! UNMASKED! He’s unmasked in this a lot, actually. I quite like that.
Raoul and The Phantom have an excellent song together, Devil Takes The Hindmost, where they make a completely unfair bet that if Christine sings, Raoul leaves them all and goes back to France. On the other hand if Christine doesn’t sing but goes with Raoul instead, they get lots of money and the Phantom leaves them alone forever. Oh, and the Phantom kind of lets it slip that Gustave may not be Raoul’s kid. Nice one!
This part really pissed me off. They are making a life changing bet behind Christine’s back, forcing her to make a choice between them without actually making a choice at all, as no one tells her about any of this.
The concert begins! Meg does this weird number called Bathing Beauty, in which she changes swimming costume five or so times. She gets a great round of applause and is delighted. She meets her mother backstage and is certain that the Phantom must’ve watched her, only to be disappointed again to be told that the Phantom is in Christine’s dressing room.
Both gentlemen do a bit of a song and dance for Christine, urging her to sing or not sing, respectively.
Shocker: she sings.
After the song finishes, she finds a letter from Raoul saying he’s leaving. And no one can find Gustave anywhere.
Guess what happened! No, no. You’re wrong. The angry woman with a gun did not take the child. She’s there, saying she would never ever hurt the child (then what was the gun for, woman?!), but she can’t find Meg, either.
That’s right, Meg took Gustave, and is about to push him off a pier when stopped by the Phantom. Meg also has the gun. The Phantom tries to calm her, but for no good reason whatsoever, Meg waves the gun around a bit, it goes off in her hand, and Christine is shot.
Christine dies, but not before telling Gustave that actually, this weirdo here is his real dad. Gustave runs off, only to return with Raoul, who holds the dead Christine and hugs Gustave, before Gustave gets up, goes over to the Phantom, and they hug.
Sooooo… Love Never Dies, apart from that it totally does, because Christine dies. I did sort of see that coming, but at the hands of Madama Giry, as she did have the gun and the motive and everything. But instead Meg, whose anger and despair wasn’t so clear to me in the show, goes apeshit and almost kills a child. I was completely overwhelmed with WTF at this, because it makes absolutely no sense to me. Story and character development suffers a lot in this show. It’s really sad that Lloyd Webber is seen as having full blame of the way the show worked out, as he didn’t write the story or the lyrics. Of course he is part responsible, but the thing is, the music is really, really good. It is probably my favourite music of his, ever.
Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either.
Sideshow: I’ve been listening to the “concept album” with the cast for the last week, and there are some notable differences.
It starts with a prologue about the Coney Island show, setting the stage for where we are and what’s going on. This goes on for the first six songs, until the Phantom finally appears in song 7. I can see how this would’ve been a bit overlong on stage (and I tend to skip the first few tracks on the album, too), but it does set up Madame Giry and Meg as two people who have suffered greatly for the Phantom in the last ten years, making money for him while he was still in a freak show in New York, saving up so that he could buy it. They seem to have sacrificed their whole lives for him, so their later anger makes more sense in this context.
Another major difference: before the rewrite, Christine and Raoul know the entire time they’re going to Coney Island, they’re not shanghaied as they embark from the both. They know they’re somewhere weird because they need the money, nothing else. That Christine had the music already makes sense in this context, because she would’ve been given what to sing as part of the contract. Instead of being lured off to a meeting, moody abusive Raoul goes to the bar to drink, leaving Christine alone for the Phantom to come to her.
The reunion song with Christine, Raoul, Madame Giry and Meg make a lot more sense when the four of them had no idea the others were anywhere near them. Meg, who thought The Phantom was composing for her, is heartbroken. Madame Giry and Raoul for some reason hate each other and don’t greet each other happily at all. Oh, the song is called My Dear Old Friend. Oh, what irony. It still makes no sense to me that these people who were like family have not stayed in touch at all over the past ten years, but I guess explaining that would take even more time? This anger still seems confusing to me, but can perhaps be explained by the extremely shitty time Madame and Meg Giry have had.
After this, it’s more or less the same, from what I can recall. Now in Meg’s last song it’s either a case of me not hearing it, or it being rewritten, but a distraught Meg describes what she has gone through for the Phantom.
I took a little trip to Coney Island;
I took a little trip, because of you.
I did as Mother said,
And followed where you led,
And tried to do what little I could do.
Here’s the way it works on Coney Island:
They make you pay for every little crumb
I gave what they would take;
I gave it for your sake.
Now look at me,
And see what I’ve become.
Bathing beauty on the beach;
Bathing beauty in her dressing room.
Bathing beauty in the dark;
On their laps, in their arms,
In their beds!
Meg! My little Meg…
What are you saying?
Who helped you raise the money?
Who helped the permits come through?
Who greased the wheels
Of your high flying deals;
Bought you time when the bills came due?
Who swayed the local bosses?
Curried favor with the press?
Oh, not her!
And who kept singing–
Desperate for your favor?
Who kept dancing–
Hoping you would save her?
Who kept dying,
And this is what you gave her?
In their beds. Meg gave everything, even her body, to keep the show going, to keep the Phantom happy. And he didn’t even give her any attention.
This is the point where I’m a bit like fuck you, everybody. Why aren’t you properly telling THAT story? If I completely missed it on stage, then maybe it wasn’t clear enough! It’s a complete and utter tragedy, that’s quickly swept under the rug as the focus goes back on the Phantom and Christine, and the glorious death scene. Meg? She just slinks off somewhere. I’d say she probably killed herself.
The sad thing about all of this is that this could’ve been a really powerful show. The music is amazing and has made me remember that Andrew Lloyd Webber is a composer and not just resting on his laurels and appearing in reality tv every now and then. The performances of everyone on stage, including the annoying child actor, were generally really good. The costuming and staging was really impressive, the orchestration was beautiful.. And yet it was such a mess of a story.
What a waste.
I do hope that one day, the show is reworked so that it does itself justice. There was so much amazing stuff going on in the show, but it didn’t fit together or make much sense. The potential is so great. Maybe in ten years we’ll see another version of this show that finally works from start to finish.
The “Phans” will never like it, however. It differs so much from the original musical it may as well be different characters. For a purist, this will never be acceptable. But I’d like to end with a quote from my friend Rachel, who saw the show long before me; “Christine is a lot less annoying in this one”. Well said, Rachel.
I’d take it a bit further though, I like all the characters more in this incarnation. And if I, with great effort, look past the plot and development problems, I kind of really adore Love Never Dies.