Andrew Powell (Redditch Standard, The Phantom of the Opera 2016)
I’M NOT sure if I can find the words that adequately describe just how good this show really was – but here goes.
I have to pre-empt this by admitting wholeheartedly that Phantom is quite simply my all-time favourite show. I’m hooked and was ever since I first saw it in the West End. Just how someone can compose such incredibly delicate and yet powerful lyrics and music, all expertly weaved together with spellbinding storytelling is beyond me, but Andrew Lloyds Webber’s show has it all.
Having seen Phantom in London and then on tour in Birmingham, the Harlequins certainly had a lot to live up to, but my goodness they managed it – and heaps more. In short, because of the intimacy presented by the much smaller Palace Theatre, one could argue that this added to the supremacy of this performance, but in all honesty I could not have imagined a more professional, powerful and emotional show.
Jonathan Southall as director brilliantly guided the 30 young actors and actresses, aged from 14 to 21, through this masterpiece of theatre about a deformed and bitter man, known only as the Phantom, who lives in the sewers underneath the Paris Opera House. He falls in love with obscure chorus singer Christine, and privately tutors her while terrorising the rest of the opera house and demanding Christine be given the lead roles.
The lead in the Harlequins production was played by New Yorker Eric Lopez, 21, who read about the show on-line and came all the way from the States to Redditch for the audition – and we can see why he landed the part. His performance was electrifying, getting the pitch between climax and quiet, power and betrayal so right, especially in the unbelievable title piece. A more powerful theatre performance you would surely travel a long way to have witnessed.
Locally-born Emily Bedford as Christine however certainly gave Eric a run for his money. It really is a stunning achievement that someone so young could possess such a mature voice and outlook – the pairing was captivating from beginning to end.
It really would be impractical to mention everyone involved, but two others on stage deserve a special mention. Laura Nicholson as the precocious Carlotta was a real delight (I’m not sure why the Phantom didn’t like her!), while love interest Dylan Hartnell as Raoul displayed the range and stage presence wholly necessary for such a demanding part in a show full of such powerful scenes and characters.
It’s odd really that a combination of musical notes and words performed in a particular way can reduce even the most level headed person to tears, but there were tears of emotion and pride aplenty around tonight. I for one never wanted the show to end.
John and Jane (Audience Members, The Phantom of the Opera 2016)
We were really amazed at the quality of last night's show (Phantom). More enjoyable than some of the 'top' shows we've seen. Standing ovation richley deserved.
Rachael Finch (Parent, The Phantom of the Opera 2016)
I have just had the most incredible week with a fantastic group of youngsters and their production of The Phantom of the Opera. From the tech and dress rehearsals to watching it tonight I have been amazed by the outstanding performances from this amazing group. Everyone had a role to play from principles, dancers and chorus and no one let the show down they were all incredible. The choreography from Cassie was some of the best I have seen and the show itself under the direction of Jonathan was of West End standard, easily the best show I have seen at the Palace Theatre. I was in tears at the end of the show with how emotional it all was and I am so proud of each and everyone one of those on stage. I am especially proud of my beautiful ballet dancer and I thank both Cassie and Jonathan for the opportunity they have given her in this show. I have enjoyed being a small part of this wonderful family this week and this show really deserves to win an award. Well done to all, Jonathan your vision really paid off and it was truly spectacular an outstanding show and an outstanding group to be part of.
Samantha Clement (Audience Member, HONK 2015)
Amazing performances as always, well done to the talented young performers, who all look so much older than their years on stage! A huge thank you to Jonathan, Sam, Dawn, all the helpers front & back stage for all of your hard work, amazing set, lighting, music, costumes, props.....there is so much to name! Without all of your professionalism & passion for the arts, none of this would happen.
Julia Harper (Audience Member, HONK 2015)
Absolutely fantastic performance tonight. Well done to everyone. Outstanding. Proud of each and every one of you!!
Hazel Dodman (Audience Member, HONK 2015)
We thoroughly enjoyed tonight's show-thank you so much! My two children honked all the way home!!!
Lisa Smith (Audience Member, LES MISEARABLES 2014)
Well what can I say about Les Mis other than absolutely amazing. Such a talented bunch of people and the show was awesome! Had me crying all the way through. Well done you should be very proud of yourselves.
Craig McDowall (Past Member)
This company is run and organized very well. It gives the chance for alot of people who have a passion for performing a ...chance to show their skills on stage in a professional enviroment, while all the while improving skills they already know and skills they are not particularly strong in. Highly Recommend child who is interested in performing to join the group!