Thursday, March 11, 2010

Some more Love Never Dies Reviews

Here are some more reviews from Love Never Dies. All four came from facebook friends, two I don't have a source or link for, so I will just copy and paste those reviews, they were sent to me via private facebook message, through copy and paste.

June 2008 NY post review

West End Whingers review

First review - copy and pasted unsure of source
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has a lot to live up to. A new musical of merit has been a long time in coming from the man whose credits read like the history of musical theatre.

Webber holds the record for the longest-running musical on Broadway with "Phantom of the Opera," but he may be better known to younger musical fans as the king of musical reality TV, where he's been in the judge's chair dishing out praise and scorn to would-be theater stars.

"Phantom" Unmasks Record

Tuesday night in London, however, was Webber's his much-hyped return to the traditional stage. I joined hundreds of other eager theater fans for the premier of Phantom sequel, "Love Never Dies" in London's West End.

Love Never Dies picks up the Phantom's story 10 years on from where Webber's epic left off - despite the passing of 25 years in non-theater time. The action moves to Coney Island from the great Parisian Opera house.

Now I am not one of them, but some cynics might suggest this was a clever plot relocation, given that most of Webber's diehard fans are in the U.S., but the lack of that Parisian backdrop doesn't detract from what is no doubt the director and composer's greatest success to date.

Love Never Dies sees Christine, the love interest in Phantom's legendary love triangle, invited anonymously by the masked-man to sing once more, with Raoul their child in tow.

A lot is riding on this continuation of a love story, which has been in the making for more than 15 years.

"I find all my musicals very personal," Lord Webber told me. "They are like children and, yes, I do worry and fret about every single detail, but it's because I care so much."

The show is set to become a permanent fixture at London's Adelphi Theater, at least for our lifetimes.

Tuesday night, the Adelphi was packed with A-listers; Theater maven Elaine Paige, original "Christine" Sarah Brightman (also the ex-Mrs. Webber), various members of Britain's royal family, and just about every reality and musical theater actor that Lord Webber has discovered.

They clapped and screamed with delight as each luscious scene unfolded.

The sweeping music clearly shows Webber's devotion to his musical hero, Puccini. It consumes the audience and has them captivated by the time the new theme song, a glorious balled called "Till I Hear You Sing Again," begins. I'll be surprised if the tune doesn't go as big, if not bigger, than the Phantom theme, "Music of the Night".

The composition cements the fact that this genus of musicals has lost none of his magic touch.

Another stand-out musical moment is the thrilling "Coney Island Waltz," which sticks in your head like a Lady Gaga riff.

Critics were blogging away with their verdicts within minutes of the final curtain going down at the Adelphi, and despite the audience's enthusiastic reception, many panned the sequel.

But Lord Webber told me the critics are not his primary concern.

"As a child, I went along to see The Sound of Music, and while the critics were less than kind about the glorious Rogers and Hammerstein score, I could find no fault. You see, the public is the critic, and that show ran for years, becoming iconic," he laughed.

"All I ask is that you enjoy it," the theater icon told me.

By the end of the night, when Lord Webber himself joined the cast onstage for a final bow, everyone in the theater was reassured that the multi-million dollar production was worth every penny.

Even Lord Webber, who is forever shy and unsure of his own work, must have felt the real wave of love for his latest production. It would appear that his fans' love, at least, never dies.

Second review - copy and pasted unsure of source
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies has received lukewarm reviews, with some critics doubtful the long-awaited sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera will prove as successful as the original.

Writing in The Daily Mail, Quentin Letts declared: "A hit? Not quite."

Charles Spencer, in The Daily Telegraph, described the musical as "Lloyd Webber's finest show since the original Phantom".

But, given the popularity of recent musical comedies such as Hairspray, Sister Act and Legally Blonde, he wondered whether audiences would fork out for "two-and-a-half hours of dark Gothic imaginings, seething passion, and in the final scene, sudden, violent death".

Letts writes off the musical's opening as "stodgy", complaining it did not really "smoke into life" until 20 minutes in - and even then it "sputters for a while". He said the first scene was memorable only for its "expensive backdrop" of New York's Coney Island with its white-knuckle fairground rides, dancing girls and a "horror-movie-style lair for the Phantom".

He went on: "The night ends with a death scene so long that it may only reignite the euthanasia debate."

Letts also pointed to a "lack of solid story-telling" - a sentiment echoed by other critics.

Michael Billington in The Guardian said: "What the show lacks, in a nutshell, is narrative tension", while Benedict Nightingale, in The Times, asked: "So where's the tension in Ben Elton and Lloyd Webber's book?"

Awarding the show three out of five, Billington wrote: "The score is one of the composer's most seductive. Bob Crowley's design and Jack O'Brien's direction have a beautiful kaleidoscopic fluidity."

However, Nightingale, who gave the musical two out of five, said the title song had "pretty clunky" lyrics.