Love Never Dies.
I haven't been to the theatre in years, but after hearing so many of my friends go on and on about what amazing times they had watching this and that I decided that I too would grace theatre's doors, especially since I remember how much I loved going to see shows when I was younger. It's difficult to choose which show you want to watch or even what type of show to watch because there are just so many. If you, like me, are having difficulty choosing then I highly recommend that you use ticketmaster.co.uk because they sell tickets for literally every show out there and they're all arranged into categories to make it easier for you to choose. You can even see which are the most popular shows at the moment and what others are looking for giving you a rough indication of which shows are the best and are in demand.
As I just said, I booked my tickets on ticketmaster.co.uk and it was a really easy process. All I had to do was pick the date and time I wanted and then it led me to a simple form that was very easy to fill out. I paid with my mum's credit card (don't worry, she knew I had it!) and it was very smooth sailing with no problems at all and I was finished within a couple of minutes. There is a timer on each page telling you how long you have before your seats become available for everyone else again so I highly recommend you keep your credit card and details close at hand as theatre tickets can be extremely competitive. For this particular show I had to pick up tickets from the box office of the day of the show which meant there were no extra postage fees or anything like that. All you need to do is bring the credit card you booked with and voila, you can have your tickets! Very easy.
As for availability, well everyone knows good tickets are hard to find at short notice, but miraculously I managed to find 4 seats only a couple of days before the performance. The cheaper seats sell out very quickly and usually the ones left are at least £50 and above, so if you only want to spend a little I recommend booking tickets as far in advance as possible. Each ticket cost £73.50 which may seem quite pricey but I think it was worth every penny considering how great the performance was and how good the seats were. I believe the most expensive seats cost £103 and these were right in the centre; however, I don't think you need to spend that much money when you can get seats that are just as good a little off centre. I believe that the cheapest tickets available are at the very back and they cost £29.50. This is very high up and I didn't get a chance to see but I think that the only thing visible up there is the top of the actors heads, which is a shame.
Getting there and the theatre itself
Love Never Dies is currently being shown at the Adelphi Theatre which is situated on The Strand, London. It is very easy to find as it is a main road and the closest station is Charing Cross (northern line). All I had to do was come out of the station and follow the road for 5 minutes and I was there. The theatre wasn't as big as I was expecting, but it didn't really need to be any bigger than it was for Love Never Dies. Although there are a couple of dance scenes there's never really a need for a large amount of space on stage. The outside of the theatre isn't particularly grand, it is painted a simple black with a large 'Love Never Dies' sign on it. It is clear from the building's exterior and interior that it is in the Art Deco style (I did a project on this for my Art GCSE). There were staff inside were friendly, welcoming, very neatly presented and were happy to help when asked. There was 'Love Never Dies' merchandise being sold as well as programmes (two for £10 - one with information, one (very nicely presented) picture booklet), ice-cream and sweets/chocolates. Everything was very easy to locate as the ticket booths/merchandise/food/loos/entrance to stalls/dress circle were all in the main foyer.
I was sat in row M in the stalls, which may seem really far back and low down, but it actually wasn't. I had a very clear view of the stage from all angles as I was sat right in the centre and I didn't have to tilt my head upwards to see what was going on. Even with people in front of me I still had a very clear view. However, I was sat with a small boy and he had a little difficult seeing and so we had to prop him up on our coats. Later, I was told that there are booster seats available for children so if you're planning on going with someone really short or a young child I recommend you ask for one of these as soon as you find your place. The seats are extremely comfortable with great cushioning and arm rests. In front of you there is also a pair of binoculars which you can hire for £1 (you don't get your money back after you re-insert your binoculars), but I don't think these are necessary unless if your seated at the very very back/top.
One would think that the theatre was one of the only places that had remained true to it's original style, so I was quite surprised to see projections being used in this production. Ordinarily I would have been very against this, but it actually really enhanced the performance and made up for certain aspects and settings that would have been impossible to create with stage props. I have no idea how it worked, but it really was a marvellous piece of technology. There was a see-through screen at the forefront of the stage and there were all sorts of pictures - a sort of prologue - being shown at the beginning and this was very useful as I haven't seen Phantom of the Opera. Then, later on, during some carnival scenes the screen was used again to project the moon and a pier and even though it was in front of the actors, somehow it was made to look very 3D and far away in the distance. It was truly magical! There were other screens used during the performance; however, these were simple still image screens at the back of the stage and although they were also very realistic, they were no way near as impressive as the invisible electronic screen at the front with moving images. There were smooth transitions between scenes and I was actually shocked at how quickly they managed to completely transform the stage. I, myself, have been part of the tech team for a couple of productions and I know the hard work that the crew have to put in to be as speedy as possible, but with stage props and settings as large as the ones used in Love Never Dies, i was truly gobsmacked at their efficiency. There were many neat little tricks used to create certain scenes and it was all rather clever. For example, to show that the characters were in some sort of attic they placed something that looked like just the top of a staircase on stage, perfectly aligned with the manhole leading down under the stage, which was really very effective in making it look like the characters had actually been walking up a long flight of stairs. In addition the stage was able to rotate which meant that you could see what was going on in the wings and on the front of the stage (I'm talking about the show in the show, little confusing) and see characters behind stage and on stage at the same time. It was also used to show characters moving between rooms as the stage rotated as they walked through the doorway making it a really smooth transition and meant that the entire stage could be used all the time as opposed to having half the stage blacked out as I have seen in other productions.
I was glad to see each and every actor compeltely immersed in their role. I was most impresed by the phantom (played by Ramin Karimloo) as I could see all his emotions and every action was precise and meaningful right to the tips of his fingers. I've never seen such depth of emotion in any play or film and I was nearly brought to tears several times. There is one little boy in this opera and I was impressed by his skills for such a young person. He was awfully cute and really focussed, he wasn't distracted by anything at all, even when he was just standing on stage doing nothing there was no fidgeting. There were a couple of circus like scenes which were captivating as there were real acrobats and dancers, it was like having a real circus on stage. There was fire, there were people dangling from the ceiling, people bending in half, standing on top of each other, being thrown across the room, everything! One thing that was more of an effect than acting was that there was a part when a person with real legs but a skeleton for an upper body walked across the room pushing a table. I was dumbfounded, how were these legs moving by themselves?! I then realised that a woman must've been bent in half with her upper body inside the table and the skeleton top attached to her back. The effect of this was truly eerie and I genuinely believed it was half skeleton half human!
This may sound stupid of me, but although it was an opera, I didn't know that the entire production would be conveyed through song. I was nervous that this would be the sort of opera that was incredibly hard to understand as they notes would all merge into one, but every single lyric was perfectly clear. Love never dies is a romantic story and I can't think of any better way to convey your love than through song - and such beautiful songs they were! The lyrics told a story and it was so enchanting to hear the beautiful voices tell this emotional tale. The actors themselves had phenomenal voices. I have never, in all my life, ever heard such great singers. Their voice ranges were out of this world and I could really feel their characters emotions through every song. The men were able to show anger and love in their voices whilst still retaining their masculinity and the women's sweet sweet voices could also be used to show their sadness and their anger. I'm completely addicted to the soundtrack because the songs are just so darn beautiful to the ears. At the beginning I was wondering whether or not their voices were really operatic ... with the tremors and all, and they were! Turns out they were just saving their voices for the really interesting bits. The voices that struck me the most were that of the Phantom (Ramin Karimloo) and of Christine (Celia Graham). Ramin's voice was magical because of the emotion and feeling conveyed in his voice and Celia's voice was just so sweet and perfect for the role - her vocal range is incredible. The little boy, Gustav, also did quite a lot of singing and although he had a slight lisp he was able to hit some very high notes with great clarity - I was really impressed. I would happily buy the soundtrack just buy itself because the songs are so great.