SEPTEMBER FAVOURITE: Love Never Dies

Love Never Dies: the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. Having been exposed to two of the songs from the show; Til I Hear You Sing and Devil Take the Hindmost at the recent Three Phantoms concert, my curiosity was suddenly risen. We all know about the negative reviews the show received during its London run and the mixed reviews circulating the web from fans of Phantom. I enjoyed the Three Phantoms renditions of both songs and was left with one question in my mind: just what is Love Never Dies about?
 
Last year a revamped version of Love Never Dies opened in Australia to favourable reviews and was even filmed for a DVD release.I bought myself a copy of the DVD and settled down for a viewing of the show I thought was going to be truly awful…
 
 

Set ten years after the Phantom of the Opera on Coney Island, the Phantom is the anonymous genius behind “Phantasma” where Meg Giry is the “Oh La La Girl” and very much the star of the show. The Phantom, however, is not content and longs for the return of his original obsession, Christine Daae. Having written a beautiful new aria with her in mind the Phantom invites Christine to make her American debut on the Phantasma stage. Unaware that the Phantom is behind this she accepts and arrives on Coney Island with her husband Raoul de Chagny and their son Gustave and is instantly haunted by memories of the events ten years ago in Paris, France. Raoul, who gambled his wealth away long ago, is now prone to drinking and is not at all close to his son who worries his father does not love him. Christine reassures Gustave that love is in many forms and that Gustave should “look with his heart.” Christine sends her son to bed and the Phantom reveals himself to Christine. They reminisce about their love and the possibility that it may have succeeded in different circumstances-

 
And here lies the first fault within the storyline of Love Never Dies. Yes, the Phantom was obsessed with Christine to the extent that he did not think he could exist without her but did he truly love her? Did Christine’s fascination for the masked man ever turn into love? My answer to both of these questions is no and this makes the plot of Love Never Diesextremely hard to believe. 
 
Plot, on its own, makes a very powerful musical that consists of haunting and memorable original music by Andrew Lloyd Webber that will echo in your mind for days after viewing. 
 
The DVD version of Love Never Dies consists of a very strong cast. Ben Lewis stars as the Phantom and gives an excellent performance. His leading lady is Anna O’Byrne who was recently the alternative Christine Daae in the West End production of the Phantom of the Opera. Vocally and physically stunning, O’Byrne is a wonderful Christine and Simon Gleeson does very well as the shamed and slightly less admirable Raoul. Sharon Millerchip and Maria Mercedes provide fantastic performances as Meg and Madame Giry respectively. 
 
Love Never Dies is a brilliant show with intriguing sets, lighting and beautiful costumes. If you have not yet purchased this DVD and are a fan of Phantom then I recommend that you check this show out. You may, like I did, find it difficult to accept certain aspects of the show or you may love every moment. 
 
Love Never Dies (Australian production) is available to buy on Amazon. The London Cast Recording is also available, with some significant differences, on Amazon and iTunes. 
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