The Western College Players presented their own version of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ in the form of a play. The stage featured only the bare essential props which created a bleak and forbidding atmosphere from the start.
It was vital that the Western College Players made this play their own and didn’t link it too closely with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Their alternative choices of music, mainly consisting of well-known classical pieces, worked excellently.
The leads all played strong parts. Chloe Crouch, playing Christine, portrayed the spectrum of emotions which the character experiences from extreme fear to compassion and love.
We gained an insight into Christine learning about the angel of music as a child. This scene with a Young Christine (Daisy Roberts) and her Father (Cliff Appleby) added to the innocence of Christine’s character and worked wonderfully.
In the second act we meet the Chief Commissary of Police played by Bill Brimblecombe. His character brings the audience away from the theatrical nature of the story and creates a reality to it. He had strong characterisation and an interesting way of leading the investigation.
The conversations between Madame Giry (Pippa Giles), Monsieur Richard (Tony Giles) and Madame Richard (Claire Roberts) were excellent. Madame Giry speaks for the Phantom while the Richards refuse to listen to her and accuse her of making up ghost stories. The relationship between these three characters is fun to watch and the exasperation portrayed by Monsieur Richard over the ghost stories is very amusing.
At times the speech was a little rushed, therefore making it difficult to understand. This occurred in particular when some of the characters were scared or angry.
Overall, a brilliant adaptation of the famous Opera Ghost story.