"heartrending tragedy beautiful soaring music"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 21/05/13

By Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit
Based on the book by Gaston Leroux
Known as The other Phantom, this is a very superior production by a small company in Walthamstow. Comparisons are inevitable, but here is an operetta that is heartbreaking and amusing - sometimes hilariously funny, full of singable tunes and an acoustic orchestra. It is such a shame that Andrew Lloyd Webber's version came out just as this one was in preparation and totally eclipsed it. These characters seem so much more human and have more in common with real life.
Christine is a busker who is discovered singing in the street, she is taken on by the opera company, given a job in the wardrobe and is secretly tutored by the Phantom who lives in the Catacombs of the building and who falls in love with her voice. She is hired by the evil Carlotta - new owner of the building after her sensational audition. Ker Morsley plays her as a feisty redhead who can always hold her own and her sweet voice performs the lyric coloratura gymnastics with ease. The role of The Phantom is sung by Kieron Brown whose face is masked at all times and yet he is able to express his tragedy and his passion with only his voice.
True to all musicals at the Rose and Crown, resident musical director Aaron Clingham together with American director Dawn Kalani Cowle have got together a cast of highly professional and experienced singer/actors who handle the complicated but exquisite operatic score and wring one's heart with their performances.
Carriere the usurped boss of the Opera House, defender and bodyguard of Erik the phantom has some of the most moving scenes in the show and is sympathetically portrayed by actor/singer Tom Murphy. Sean Paul Jenkinson plays Philippe de Chandon the champagne millionaire in love with Christine. Most of the comedy stems from the new owners of the opera house Andrew Rivera as Cholet and the divine diva Carlotta played by Pippa Winslow - the campest pair of villains ever seen onstage. Carlotta in particular has a wonderfully funny number 'This place is mine' in which she expresses her evil joy at having her own Opera House.
In addition to the principals there are nine others who play small roles and work as chorus - making exciting music under the direction of Musical director Aaron Clingham and performing Brendan Matthew's neat choreography.
The excellent five piece band consists of Clingham on keyboards with Wirya Salya and Andrew Cowburn or Madelaine Cole on Woodwinds, Catriona Cooper on Violin and Rachel Monaghan on Cello.
Jenny Gamble has painted an atmospheric backdrop of catacombs for the Phantom's scenes on stage but the large cast perform most of the miracles on the floor of the room.
This is a terrific show and must be seen.
Walthamstow is only twenty minutes by Victoria line from Euston!

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