Review: The York Orchard Musical Theatre Company’s The Phantom of the Opera
February 6, 2016
The York Orchard Musical Theatre Company’s production of the musical opened on Wednesday night to a packed out Joseph Rowntree Theatre. I love the passion and enthusiasm behind this production. It exudes from all the performers and the musicians below the stage. The lead actors and the accompanying music are highlights, but the play also came together wonderfully well as a whole. It succeeded in really capturing the essence of the story and in particular the tragedy that underlines it all.
From the opening scene onwards, you are transported into the world of The Phantom of the Opera and even more so when the Phantom makes his appearance. Scott Goncalves’s Phantom is outstanding and he clearly understands the complexity of the character. He immediately changes the atmosphere of the room every time he appears, drawing you deeper and deeper into his world. I found myself both rooting for and scorning the dark but fragile Phantom. The rest of the cast are also fantastic, with Ria Williams embodying Christine Daaé and Sam Lightfoot-Loftus providing an anchor for her in the form of Raoul. The pair have fantastic chemistry. The supporting cast also illuminate the stage throughout the show, enriching it and making it not just about the three leads.
These great performances are really bolstered by the flawless backing music that accompanies them. The music helps the actors by creating a palpable atmosphere and sense of occasion on stage, enabling them to really live those grand moments rather than simply act them. This works particularly well given the grandiose nature of the story. A musical production does not need state of the art special effects to be great when you have musicians like these.
The play featured moments of comic relief and these were very well done but the story is ultimately a tragic one and this is what the production really understands. It never becomes overly jovial and the moments of comedy are often broken by a severe reminder of the Phantom’s anguish. The juxtaposition of humour and pain work brilliantly well, but there is always an ominous tone even beneath the jokes. A talented, vibrant and affecting production of The Phantom of the Opera.
The production runs from Wednesday 3rd until Saturday 6th February. Tickets available here.