Founders Theatre, Hamilton

03/05/2014 - 24/05/2014

Production Details

The Phantom of the Opera at last comes to Hamilton for a strictly limited season. From the producers of Cats, Les Miserables, Hairspray and The Rocky Horror Show, this will be the theatrical event of the decade. 

This sumptuous new production from international production designer, Allan Lees, will be Directed by David Sidwell, Musically Directed by Campbell Douglas and Choreographed by Margaret Fairhead.  

Premiered in Wellington in June 2013 this new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenon will heighten your senses and transport you to deep beneath the Paris Opera House where the most famous of all theatre ghosts lurks and teaches his beautiful protégée, Christine Daaé. 

Be captivated by the stunning cast assembled to bring this piece to life. Witness the chandelier, the costumes, and the mask, all the while listening to the superb score. This is a once in a lifetime event so don’t miss it, book today. 

Founders Theatre, Tristram Street, Hamilton 
May 3rd to 24th 2014

Producer: Hamilton Operatic Society Inc.
Executive Producer: Jason Wade  

Phantom: Roy Snow
Christine: Julia Booth
Raoul: Kyle Chuen
Carlotta: Pamela Wallace
Monsier Firmin: Nick Wilkinson
Monsier Andre: Scot Hall
Madame Giry: Fiona Bradley
Meg Giry: Ruby Lyon
Ubaldo Piangi: Michael Potts 

Kersten Hickman, Tony Antoniadis, Rachel Balme, Katie Boom, Eliza Boom, Erwin Cifra, Will Collin, Emma Connolly, Hamish Davies, Harrietanne Embling, Jonathan Eyers, Nicole Foster, Ayden Fuller, Zara Gilbert, Sam Gordon, Alice Gower, Pat Holloway, Koli Jayatunge, Coryn Knapper, Sarah Kosoof, Amy Lever, Gwen Lyon, Anna Mahon, David Marris, Sophie McAllister, Alice McConnochie, Paul Mitchell, Alex Pelham-Waerea, Tim Pollock, Matt Powell, Humphrey Pullon, Dawn Roberts, Hannah Sarcich, Mike Scanlon, Mike Sorensen, Blaire White, Gayle Williams, Ellis Yates, Chris Young  

Superb leads offset by underwhelming Phantom and teetering ballerinas

Review by Liza Kire 04th May 2014

The Phantom of the Opera is a timeless musical that has mesmerised people all around the world for generations, telling a heart-breaking tale of obsession, love and betrayal. 

Director David Sidwell has done it again. Hamilton Operatic is the latest society to put this show on at Founders Theatre in Hamilton and with everyone dressed to impress on opening night, it is clear we expect a wonderful performance from an amazing cast.   

The Phantom of the Opera is the tale of a theatre ghost who is actually a man who lives in a labyrinth under the theatre. He is what Christine calls the Angel of Music and he teaches her to sing. He falls in love with her and is determined to make her his, and from this a tale of love and obsession begins.

Raoul is a childhood friend of Christine and also falls in love with Christine and helps her to escape the Phantom and the hold that he has on her. Meanwhile the Phantom feels betrayed by Christine and starts to kill people at the theatre to get his way, proving to her that he is a broken soul who is tormented by his love for her. 

There is no doubt that Roy Snow is very excellent and talented at what he does but perhaps he just isn’t Phantom material. I want to say that the Roy Snow playing the Phantom is the star of this show; however, his voice lacks presence and power and means the spotlight is stolen from him by Julia Booth and Kyle Chuen who play Christine and Raoul.  

I wait and wait for the most famous of all the songs in this show to start and when the band starts to play ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ I instantly have the chills running down my spine that I was hoping to get. As soon as the Phantom started to sing though, I am underwhelmed. I expect him to sound enchanting and have that haunting quality about his voice that would put me in a trance but alas, it never happens.

Julia Booth on the other hand – well where do I start? Beautiful, with the voice of an angel, she is most definitely the winner of the night. The only let down is waiting for that top C at the end of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, which I am expecting her to ace, suddenly sounding like someone has removed something from the room. I feel ripped off that it has been pre-recorded. The quality in sound is obvious to me and it irks me for the rest of the show.  

Other than that, she is perfect and her chemistry with everyone, and in particular Kyle Chuen, has me spellbound. I too wish for a love like that shown between Raoul and Christine. I too wish that someone loved me so fiercely and was willing to go to extreme lengths to save me. I too, wish that I could have a man in my life with a velvet voice like Kyle. I think he is just perfectly brilliant and there really aren’t any other words to describe him. 

I can’t quite wrap my head around how the orchestra pit survives what seems like a never ending wave of stage smoke spilling into their domain. I often wonder whether they can see the conductor or whether he can even see the score in front of him. Regardless of that the band is SPECTACULAR!

Musical Director Campbell Douglas has done a great job with his band, every song played with instruments lulling me into a place that makes me feel at ease, scared, panicked, worried and even in love when I have to be; ensuring I am feeling the right emotions with every scene. 

Pamela Wallace as the prima donna Carlotta and Michael Potts as Ubaldo are fantastic. Alongside Scot Hall (Monsieur Andre) and Nick Wilkinson (Monsieur Firmin) these four characters have me laughing throughout the whole show. Singing (especially from Michael Potts), acting and overall stage presence from these four are just great.  

I feel the dancing in this show could have been tighter and a lot sharper. Timing is off and watching ballet girls on point shaking and trying to keep from falling is very distracting from every scene that they are in. If they could keep their poise, grace and stay calm as dancer Gwen Lyon, they would have the stage presence they need and make everything seem effortless.  

The set (by international production designer Allan Lees) is absolutely mind blowing. I can’t believe there are so many backdrops hanging up in the fly floor: the grand staircase during ‘Masquerade’, the Phantom’s lair and the office of the theatre owners, the rooftop of the theatre and the shows that are happening there. Even the box seats on the side of the stage making it look like there is a VIP section at Founders are just amazing. The set changes are endless and the flow from one scene to another is flawless.

I must admit that I am very happy to see the boat that takes Christine to the Phantom’s lair. The lighting though is maybe a bit too dark. I understand that this is a ‘dark’ show but for someone sitting at the back, having your eyes trying to fight the haze and trying to see what’s going on makes things difficult. It is hard to see the Phantom in the mirror from where I am sitting but for someone who knows the show I know what to expect and so am waiting to see it happen. There shouldn’t be so much stage smoke and the lighting should be a little brighter for some scenes.

I do enjoy most of this show. It is definitely a must see but you will need to form your own opinion as to whether these minor problems can be put down to opening night jitters. Make sure you book your tickets to see the world’s most famous opera ghost, The Phantom of the Opera.


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