Home > Theater > Love Never Dies, especially not on opening night.

Love Never Dies, especially not on opening night.

Christine (Sierra Boggess) and The Phantom (Ramin Karimloo).  Copyright RUG 2010. Photo c. Catherine Ashmore.

Christine (Sierra Boggess) and The Phantom (Ramin Karimloo). Copyright RUG 2010. Photo c. Catherine Ashmore.

Well…the reviews are in.  There’s a fairly even spread of “like”, “don’t like”, and just plain “meh, I could take it or leave it”.  Sequels are tricky business in movies, and far more difficult for theater.  For “Love Never Dies” to have received even a somewhat lukewarm-warm reception (Critically speaking. Phans everywhere seem to be quite happy with it!) could be considered a success and isn’t all that disheartening. If ever a show had the potential for flopping spectacularly, this is it and it seems to have survived it’s opening night with only a couple of scratches and a few bruises.  Any show with that kind of evaluation can continue on with it’s head held high. All I know is, damn it! I want to see it too! LOL!

Only time will tell how well it will actually do and if it will become even a shadow of the original “Phantom of the Opera”, the longest running, best selling broadway show of all time. I don’t think even Andrew Lloyd Webber could top it! But then, it seems to me he may never have intended to.

Reviews—>

The reviews are in! Some good:

“Lloyd Webber’s finest show since the original Phantom, with a score blessed with superbly haunting melodies and a yearning romanticism that sent shivers racing down my spine….The show may ultimately prove too strange, too dark, too tormented to become a massive popular hit, but I suspect its creepy allure will linger potently in the memory when frothier shows have been long forgotten. ”
The Daily Telegraph

“What is in no doubt is the technical excellence of Jack O’Brien’s seamlessly fluent, sumptuous (and sometimes subtle) production, or the splendour of the orchestra which pours forth Lloyd Webber’s dark-hued, yearning melodies as if its life depended on them.”
Paul Taylor for The Independent

“This is an elegant and clever sequel to Phantom…It is a great night out.”
Paul Callan for The Daily Express

Some indifferent:

“Musically, it is pleasing enough…Visually, the show is stunning in places.”
Matthew Hemley for The Stage

“Sets and special effects cannot be faulted, the singing is terrific…a stunning ending. But phantastic? Afraid not.”
Bill Hagerty for The Sun

“The musical is impressive and enjoyable, even with its heavy hokum and creakiest of plots.”
Warwick Thompson for Bloomberg News

“Dismally implausible plot…The blogosphere has been teeming with views of Lloyd Webber’s long-awaited Phantom II. For some, Love Never Dies is ‘Paint Never Dries’, and for others the composer is at his musical best. I tend to agree with both factions….Bob Crowley (Designs] successfully evokes much of Phantasma, helped by projections of spooky horses on carousels. Yet that’s all rather cursory, as is the choreography, which doesn’t amount to a lot more than the inevitable bathing beauties bouncing about on the beach. ”
Benedict Nightingale for The Times

And some not so good:

“It doesn’t really smoke into life until the 20th minute and even then it splutters for a while. Finally, the singing and the ingenious staging combine to show the Lloyd Webber orchestration to its full glory, but, boy, it takes an age.”
Quentin Letts for The Daily Mail

“Frequently clunky and clumsy…Lloyd Webber’s score, too, seems like a rehashed parade of pastiche and throbbing crashing-chord melodies.”
Mark Shenton for Entertainment Weekly

“It doesn’t really smoke into life until the 20th minute and even then it splutters for a while. Finally, the singing and the ingenious staging combine to show the Lloyd Webber orchestration to its full glory, but, boy, it takes an age.”
Quentin Letts for The Daily Mail

“While Lloyd Webber’s music is at times lavishly operatic, the tone is uneven. There are no more than a couple of songs that promise to live in the memory, the duets don’t soar, and the ending is insipid. Admirers of Phantom are likely to be disappointed, and there’s not enough here to entice a new generation of fans.”
Henry Hitchings for The Evening Standard

“While lushly orchestrated (by David Cullen with Mr. Lloyd Webber), the score is, for the most part, so slow that you have time to anticipate Mr. Slater’s next leaden rhyme. Each of the songs — which range from bathing-beauty frolics to power-chord operetta ballads — spins a single tune until it loses its tread.”
Ben Brantley for The New York Times

And my favorite, the backhanded compliment (LOL!):

“Watching the sequel only makes you appreciate the achievement of the original.”
David Benedict for Variety

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