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PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED! 
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Tony Winner
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Post PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatre ... oyd-webber

I don't know how to love him (the Phantom of the Opera, that is)

Andrew Lloyd Webber's tame simulacrum of dark passion is now celebrating 25 years. This cultural juggernaut must be stopped

The Phantom of the Opera is the most successful piece of entertainment of all time – so boasts the official international website for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that this year celebrates a quarter-century since its premiere, with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford in the leading roles, at Her Majesty's theatre in London's West End in 1986. Since Crawford lured Brightman into his underground lair all those years ago, it's claimed some 130 million people have seen Phantom, helping it gross more than $5.6bn. If only the Greek finance minister had found that sum in his trousers, the eurozone might not be in quite such a pickle. But he didn't, so it is.

Even as I write, avatars of the hideously deformed subterranean whiner and his doe-eyed snit of a love interest are performing or poised to perform in productions of Lloyd Webber's musical in South Africa, Vegas, Kyoto, New York – and in a special anniversary performance at the Albert Hall tomorrow night. The cultural juggernaut is unstoppable.

But it must be stopped, whatever Tanya Gold and other (with all due respect) deluded Lloyd Webberian devotees say. It's an unthreatening simulacrum of dark passion in which everything wild and unheimlich about sexual obsession, murder, disfigurement and – my personal favourite – Dostoyevskian self-loathing is benumbed with unremittingly sweet tunes (many of which, according to Kit and the Widow's turn at August's Comedy Prom, Lloyd Webber recycled from older, better composers).

The Phantom is, as Peter Bradshaw put it, "just a sad, sweet, plain boy who's in love with the prettiest girl in the class". He could have been much more disturbing – the incarnation, say, of Magazine's Song from Under the Floorboards ("I am angry, I am ill and I'm as ugly as sin/ My irritability keeps me alive and kicking"). About the best bit, for me, is when the Phantom tries to convince Christine that he's the spirit of her dead father. The transgressive hint of incest enlivens the unremitting good taste of the whole thing.

Lloyd Webber didn't have the courage to make the Phantom really dark or disturbed. Commercially at least, that's what makes his treatment a bankable solution to an impoverished culture that wants the pretence of romantic derangement rather than the real thing. What Stephen Sondheim told theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh ("The great thing about you, Cameron, is that you make commerce out of art, you don't try and make art out of commerce") is also true of Lloyd Webber.

The musical was made even worse in Joel Schumacher's 2004 film treatment, which I recently watched with my six-year-old. Any semblance of the derangement of desire is systematically neutralised the director's suburban mise en scene (what lair has so many swags?) and by and the way Gerald Butler – there's no nice way to say this – "sings". Phantom's shortcomings also bear comparison with the 1946 film La Belle et la Bête in which a fairytale became, thanks to Cocteau, the charming and yet properly disturbing story of cross-species seduction by an amazingly hirsute, though marvellously grand, feline-human gent. La Belle truly falls for her Bête, unlike Christine, who is merely titillated by a brooding hunk who turns out to be a self-pitying bore.

When I met him in 2004, Lloyd Webber said he'd run out of ideas and was thinking of doing a song cycle about the Warsaw ghetto. He didn't, and thank God for that. Instead, he and Ben Elton came up with a lucrative and even more dismal sequel to Phantom titled Love Never Dies. He's trapped in a safe musical world of false feelings and empty spectacle. But so are the millions around the world who love that twee suburban pest, that leylandii of musicals, The Phantom of the Opera.

:twisted: :lolno:


Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:19 am
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
If ever "Cool Story, Bro" was applicable...


Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:29 pm
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
I like how if you click next on it, it's complaining about how people on the internet are so angry.


Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:06 pm
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Fresh Face
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
If the phantom was made more disturbing and unrealistic it would make him loose all the sympathy he gets from the audience, and if everyone watching hated the phantom the show would not have been half so good. I think the way you are drawn to feel sorry for Christine, Raoul and the Phantom all at once is very clever.

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Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:49 am
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
iTS NOT CLEVER..ITS A TRITE LITTLE TIE IN.

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Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:51 am
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
The tunes may be predominantly sweet, but not "unremittingly". There are some pretty harsh discords under the verses of Point of No Return; you don't often hear clashes like that in musicals.

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Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:07 pm
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Fresh Face
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
I'd say that this is a bit of an inappropriate time and place to have a rant about the Phantom of the Opera--right in the middle of a forum full of dedicated Phans.


Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:17 pm
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
Dear "PotO" Fans/ Phans,

I think that TRUE "Phans" SHOULD be able to discuss both the good AND the flawed aspects of ALW's famous musical.

I don't really know that Andrew Lloyd Webber examined the disturbing aspects of SO many of the characters in this story. Let me explain:

CHRISTINE: Throw rotten tomatoes at me, but Christine is both a victim AND a villain! Here is a girl who lost her mother at a young age, a girl who was taken in by Madame Giry, a woman whom I think sort of "FED" Christine to the Phantom, in order to secretly fulfill the erotic desires that she KNEW would be expressed by Erik someday.

Here is also a girl who lost her father, and who, "when [her] father lay dying" was promised that The Angel of Music (Did her father actually say that HE would BE The Angel of Music?) would protect her.

So, she is allowed, by Madame Giry, to be led, sleepwalking (?) from her bed each night, for years, and trained/ seduced by The Phantom. She is, in my opinion, slightly air-headed about the entire situation, because she SHOULD be able to figure out that her recurring "dreams" are real.

Christine is a villain, too, though, in some ways. She's not entirely blameless. When she awakens....in the actual lair, she behaves in a slightly presumptuous way....for somebody who doesn't even really know WHERE she is, by removing The Phantom's mask.

Then, there's the fact that, instead of boldly facing off with The Phantom, she sort of ping-pongs herself between him and Raoul (She almost seems to be teasing RAOUL, TOO, when she sings about the fact that even though Erik frightens her, his eyes are sad and lonely. She's using her seductiveness in order to get what she wants....from BOTH men.

Later, Christine deliberately unmasks Erik in front of EVERYBODY, and THAT'S not an act of kindness!

Once Christine has been dragged back down to the lair, she's defiant....until she utilizes fake(?) pity, and the only kiss that Erik will EVER know, to seduce Erik into letting her go....AND letting Raoul live. She and Raoul leave, taunting The Phantom with their love song (Does that happen onstage, or does that ONLY happen in the movie?).

ERIK: I tend to think that The Phantom is disturbing enough in the musical, although an actor could portray him as being even more angry/ stir crazy (from being forced to live in the dungeon, due to repressed lust, etc.) He's like a more historical version of the title character from "Bad Ronald", except for the fact that his face is deformed.

RAOUL: Nobody ever seems to view Raoul as a stalker, SIMPLY because he knew Christine when they were young. Well, I see Raoul in a different way. He sort of announces to the audience, "She may not remember ME, but I remember HER!", as though she's a deer whom he's spotted in the forest, and as though she's going to be his target for the rest of the musical. Okay....so, who says that SHE'S necessarily gonna want HIM after all of these years? Who CARES if memories and hormones compel him....he STILL comes across as being a wee bit stalkerish. He also hasn't seen Christine for years. How does he know that she's not just making up scary stories in order to seduce him? How does he even know that there IS a Phantom?

MADAME GIRY: I'm not so certain that I CAN'T blame everything "bad" that Erik does on Madame Giry! She may have been young and compassionate when she took Erik in, and hid him from the world, but I think that she KNOWS that she's "created a monster," or, in this case, a frustrated, stir-crazy guy who SHOULD have SOMEHOW been introduced into society YEARS ago, and who is NOW understandably starved for sex and companionship.

Madame Giry seems to be particularly sinister to ME, because it was SHE who rescued Erik, and yet, it is SHE who "feeds" ANOTHER COUPLE'S DAUGHTER to Erik! Maternal Instinct prevents her from feeding precious little MEG to Erik; she wouldn't DARE do THAT, but she'd turn Christine from trusting orphan to sacrificial lamb, in order to keep her secret, while at the same time satisfying Erik's erotic appetite!

Whenever I watch the movie, and Madame Giry turns that key in the lock....She's 110% SINISTER, fer SHURR, KNOWING what Christine is going through, and never, EVER stopping the madness!

She even admonishes MEG....when SHE tries to go through the secret passageway, but she'll sacrifice CHRISTINE, and allow RAOUL to become involved in the entire ordeal. Oh, and THEN she seems so shocked during "PoNR"! REALLY? Are you KIDDING me?

MEG: I have some theories about Meg. I think that she's actually doing relatively well for a girl who's mother seems to favor her stepsister Christine over HER, for a girl who's mother is allowing CHRISTINE to become a star, for a girl who's mother has set CHRISTINE up on a pedestal....as the poor, pitiful orphan....who should be spoiled at all costs, simply because she has no parents. Yeah? Well, in some ways, Meg has just lost her own MOTHER....to CHRISTINE!

I'm also thinking that MEG would make the perfect companion for Erik. Why? Well, Meg is a logical, but curious young woman, who actually WANTS to explore the opera house. She seems to be the type who might actually be able to accept, and maybe even love Erik for who he is. I'm basing my opinions on the scene during which Meg leads everybody to The Phantom's lair.

I really think that if MEG had been led down to that lair by Erik, and she'd have awakened to touch his mask, and he'd admonished HER, SHE would have said something like, "Well, you have no right to treat me that way, but I'm curious about you, so if you're willing to treat me kindly from now on, I'll keep seeing you." I somehow believe that Meg could have understood Erik.

She may not have an Instant Boyfriend like Raoul, whom she could coquettishly whine to about needing protection, but she is a girl who can stand on her own two feet, and I think that she might be so moved and inspired by The Phantom's connection with her mother that she would promise to be The Phantom's sweetheart....forever!

Thanks in advance for your replies.
:idea:

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Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:41 am
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Young Hoofer
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Post Re: PHANTOM MUST BE STOPPED!
In this thread:
GungaDin wrote:
...and by and the way Gerald Butler – there's no nice way to say this – "sings"...


In "favourite Phantoms" thread:
GungaDin wrote:
GERARD BUTLER!! The one and ONLY!!


Troll...

Of course, it's not a perfect show. There is no perfect show. I'm perfectly fine with people who don't like it, and I think people should say so. But please, stopp trolling.

@Duchess: Christine isn't Meg's stepsister wasn't raised by Mme Giry in the book or the musical. That's one of teh additions of the 2004 movie. Same goes for Mme Giry taking the Phantom. And Raoul's definitely a stalker, especially in the book.

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