Review – Love Never Dies, Adelphi Theatre

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Paint Never DriesThe Whingers could think of many reasons not to see Love Never Dies, the long-awaited (although by whom is unclear) sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

Phil was impressed with the spectacle of the original when he saw its first preview a zillion years ago but when he when revisited it with Phantom virgin* Andrew years later he was shocked by how, well, tedious it actually is.

On the plus side if you really must do a follow-up then a storyline set in Coney Island sounds just up the Whingers’ alleys. Just think of the visual possibilities! The Whingers’ inner juries were definitely going to examine all the evidence before deciding whether or not another crime against musical theatre had been committed. Phil even admitted to being quite excited about going.

But word-of-mouth from die-hard Phantom wasn’t encouraging: there are 53 pages (and still counting) of largely negative comment on the WhatsOnStage forum, largely from Phantom fans. If they didn’t like it what chance would the Whingers have?

Still, there obviously IS a demand from the press at least because the nice people at Peter Thompson Associates who are handling PR for the show wrote a very nice email back to the Whingers to say that “due to the extremely high demand and a strictly limited ticket allocation we will not be able to provide you with press tickets for this show”.

How cruelly dashed on the rocks of pecking orders were our dreams of endless first nights, unlimited free drink and casual hob-nobbing with celebrities at after-show parties. Bet Biggins got an invite.

So anyway, it was down to the Whingers to fork out their own money like the ordinary theatre-goers they once were, and are apparently again, for £37.50 EACH in the UPPER (oh, the shame of it) Circle of the Adelphi.

So let us examine the case for and against Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s latest opus.

For: The title. Hacking the Bond movie producers off, one imagines, ALW has come up with a title that gets both love and death into it. We can just see Ms Broccoli taking a thick marker pen and crossing it off her list of potential titles, wishing she’d got in there first. On the other hand, what does it mean? Nothing. Of course love dies. Of course it does. What bollocks. But no, this is a “For”. Good title. Good title.

Against: Merchadising. Andrew’s first words on entering the Adelphi Theatre were “Let’s go and look at the merchandising”. The Whingers love having a look at a show’s merchandise. Where was it? Nowhere. Not a mug nor a pinny in sight! We don’t buy it ourselves of course, but it’s comforting to know that it’s there if we ever change our minds. Very disappointing.

For: The Prologue. Those very words bring back happy memories of Frankie Howerd squeezing them through pursed lips in Up Pompeii! Sadly there is no Frankie here but the opening scene looked rather spookily lovely with some marvellous forced perspective, some clever use of old bedsheets and held no little promise.

Against: It was a bit gloomy. So was the next scene and the one after that. In fact the whole thing was gloomy. Andrew’s advice to people with contact lenses: take eye-drops and a high beam torch.

For: Forbidden Broadway summed it up brilliantly with their song about projected scenery. You don’t really feel as though you’re seeing your money up on stage, which here frequently looks a bit empty. No Phantom of the Opera here. But both Whingers confessed to finding the projections dynamic, depth-filled, impressive and indeed just about the best thing in an otherwise disappointing (and gloomy) design.

Against: The book. OK, Coney Island a great idea, but it took four people – Lord ALW, Glen Slater, Frederick Forsyth, and Ben Elton (who apparently “unlocked the story”) to come up with it. That makes a contribution of one plot point each by our reckoning. Sometimes it didn’t really make sense, or was that because we couldn’t hear a lot of the lyrics? If Raoul is a drunken gambler doesn’t that rather pull the rug out from under those who loved the original and went away thinking it had a happy ending? Ben Elton should have thrown away his key.

For: The scene in the Phantom’s Aerie at the top of what  looks like Blackpool Tower and which is dressed with freakish oddities such as a Medusa like singing chandelier and a half woman-half skeleton walking a hostess trolley (the Whingers really liked that), all played out to an appalling rock-ish music score. It’s the most fabulous overwrought mess currently on view on the West End stage and Wicked is still running apparently! The Aerie’s design over-wrings the worst excesses of Art Nouveau to produce the bastard child of sexual congress between a peacock and an owl in a Notting Hill antiques shop.

Against: The Phantoms’s sidekicks, Fleck, Squelch and Gangle (or is it Guangle? – the programme** can’t really decide) weren’t established as characters at all. Fleck looked like she’d stumbled in from a ritzy production of The Rocky Horror Show. If only she’d done the time-warp again. With Biggins. We may be wrong but we imagined that they were supposed to be freaks. There was a lot of talk of Coney Island freaks but not one bearded lady, not one midget, not two Siamese twins. What kind of Freak Show was this? The Whingers would have been demanding their money back.

For: Raoul’s line to Christine (Sierra Boggess) as she bangs out a few bars of the dreadful title song, “Must you make that racket?”. At last, Lord Webber has got a sense of humour. But why were the Whingers the only ones who laughed?

Against: The Phantom’s lyric “Time keeps moving on” had Phil looking at his watch. Was the Phantom sure? Surely it had stopped.

For: Poor Ramin Karimloo (as the Phantom) has a terrific set of lungs. Very impressive singing. Even if when he whips off his mask Phil was reminded of Frasier‘s Niles Crane.

For: Poor Liz Robertson as Madame Giry, channelling Mrs Danvers.

Against: The climax to the end of act one involves Madame Giry throwing a jacket down a stair well. As climaxes go, it’s not really up there with the bit in the film of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the car goes off the cliff before anyone knows it can fly. If it hadn’t been such an eagerly anticipated event the Whigers would have thrown their towels in the stairwell after the jacket and departed to the nearest pub.

For: The bar scene at the beginning of Act 2. The combination of projection and scenery actually looks quite good and Raoul’s drunken scene with the Phantom actually had bit of the tension which was sadly lacking elsewhere. But then lines like “one more drink sir” and “another drink” were playing to the Whingers in their Aerie seats.

Against: The big moments. The first appearance of the Phantom, his first meeting with Christine, the Phantom’s unmasking. All thrown away. Christine’s surprise suggested that the Phantom had bought a new pair of trousers since she last saw him rather than the fact that a disfigured kidnapper she thought was dead was in her bedroom.

For: Phil had another laugh at the interminably drawn out finale where little Gustave slips his fingers in the Phantom’s disfigurement. Phil made a mental note that it’s a while since he’s handled a bowling ball and must book a ten-pin bowling lane soon.

Against: What a shameful waste of talent. Director Jack O’Brien did such a brilliant job on Hairspray, choreographer Jerry Mitchell similarly on the same show and with his direction and choreography of Legally Blonde. There’s hardly any choreography in LND, but you can’t blame them for accepting an offer to leap aboard an ALW cash cow, even if the udders appear to be somewhat dried up and the milk very much on the turn.

For: The very helpful expositionary snippets of dialogue – “I say that not just as your mother but as your producer” and “They say she’s still pitch-perfect but it’s like the flame went out or something”. And the monologue – “That boy! His music! He plays like me!”. We would have been lost without them.

Against: Sung-through shows in general and this one in particular. The Whingers want fun and LND is sooo po-faced. The Whingers only laughed at things which weren’t meant to be funny. Note to selves: best stick to shows like Legally Blonde.

For: The bit where Christine performs her big number (can’t remember what it was called or how it went) while the Phantom and Raoul watch from either Wing and the whole thing revolved. Andrew knew it reminded him of something but couldn’t quite put his finger on it…

Against: The music. Obviously one doesn’t go to an ALW in search of tunes but this one is particularly devoid of anything that might become hummable after repeated viewing. Even the heavy-handed repetitious leitmotif from Phantom began to seem desirable to the Whingers after half an hour. Andrew did enjoy one moment when he recognised the first four notes of the the very beginning of the Star Trek theme but by this time his mind – desperate for melody – may simply have been playing tricks on him.

For: Poor Joseph Millson (as Raoul) for mustering all his dignity and gamely going on and not pulling a sickie every night. We would have.

Against: Did we mention the po-facedness of it all? Just wait until you see the attempts at the “lighter” numbers involving squeaky chorines led by poor Summer Strallen. Shocking. There’s an attempt to make life a bit interesting for the audience at one stage with a quick-change routine which hopefully will be competent by opening night. In the meantime, here’s what a quick change routine looks like:

Verdict: Dull. Like watching paint dry, and as we all know, paint never dries***.

Paint Never Dries


* That’s as in “new to Phantom” rather than “phantom virginity” a la “phantom pregnancy”. Although actually…

** Against: The programme is a bit on the sloppy side. Gangle/Guangle isn’t the only mistake: director Jack O’Brien’s CV lists him as artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre in Sandiago rather than San Diego. You can get quite a lot of proof-reading done when you’ve nothing to distract you and Phil spotted oodles of mistakes during Love Never Dies.

*** Yes, alright paint DOES dry eventually but love does die too so we’re quits with ALW.


Two out of Five: slightly corked or vinegary


134 Responses to “Review – Love Never Dies, Adelphi Theatre”

  1. J.A. Says:

    The Act One finale was even better when the jacket missed the stairwell and a hand appeared to drag it down.

    • Amy Dowd Says:

      I just read this again, as research for my dissertation on changing face of theatre criticism – and am now giggling quite embarrassingly in Swiss Cottage Library… on a saturday. People think i’m wierd. Now, which quote to choose? I think “The Phantom’s lyric “Time keeps moving on” had Phil looking at his watch. Was the Phantom sure? Surely it had stopped.” is my favourite.

  2. Chris Says:

    “The Phantoms’s sidekicks, Fleck, Squelch and Gangle ….”

    Sounds like an unmentionable trio of sexual practices.

  3. PhilK Says:

    ****Unless it’s this kind of paint. This never dries

  4. jason Says:

    You’ve got me wondering what the proper usage of singular/plural modifiers is for ‘Siamese twins.’ Does one reference the quantity of alleged individuals, like with nonconjoined twins or to a pair of socks, or would the reference be to the whole of the group, like a flock of geese?

  5. Ed Says:

    Forgive me for being slow – I’m an Phil and Andrew virgin but up to this point in the piece I thought I was reading a real theatre review:

    “Obviously one doesn’t go to an ALW in search of tunes…”

    Now I get it, it’s a spoof, a parody, a satire. Yes? One doesn’t go to an ALW for tunes? Isn’t that like saying one doesn’t go to a restaurant for food? Or one doesn’t go to a liquer store for alcohol? Or one doesn’t go a whore house for….well, you get my point.

    Seriously now, you didn’t know ALW did musicals? And some pretty good ones too if memory serves.

    I’ll admit it – for a moment I thought you were serious.

  6. Crandal Says:

    I’m with the Whingers on this one. What a waste of time and money on all of our parts – the creative people involved with this mess of a show and us poor suckers in the audience. And as for the “book” of the show in addition to the four authors listed , elsewhere in the programme it mentions that Jack O Brien also worked on the “book” – no credit but I bet he gets a royalty on it. Shame on all involved.

  7. Phantom Says:

    I’ve been humming since last Thursday. “Devil take the hindmost”, Love Never Dies and three or four others. Therefore hummable tunes are indeed present, in fact the show is packed with them. Perhaps you should attend evening classes or join a humming choir or something like that.

  8. jane king Says:

    And what about the size of his Phantom? I mean, the height of the Phantom. Ramin Karimloo sang beautifully but was about 3 feet too short and had no real menacing presence at all……

    I like my Phantom’s tall and imposing. This one was short and rather sweet…. not domineering and masterful. I never really got over the disappointment. Tend to agree with the whingers on thsi one….

    • It really was a completely different Phantom, wasn’t it? I think they were all imposters,actually. Only then does the plot begin to make any sense.

    • Elizabeth Says:

      Karimloo is 6ft. which is taller than Michael Crawford. So in saying he was 3 feet too short… you’d prefer a Phantom that’s 9ft tall? No one had a problem with Karimloo when he starred as the Phantom in the original for over 2 years. In fact he was acclaimed by audiences and critics. Now that he’s in the sequel, and doing an amazing job, people are nitpicking.

      • G Says:

        I think it is quite low to attack the actor/singer who is just trying to make a living; I’m sure a lot of folks can see that without Ramin and all the talented folks performing, LDN by itself is without substance. But then again, this is only an opinion – we’re allowed those, right?

  9. Ron Says:

    In the original “Phantom”, he was about 35 years old to her 20 or so. Now he seems to have gotten “younger” to be her lover/contemporary. He should be late 40’s or early 50’s to her. And the fact that she SLEPT with him on the night before her wedding to Raoul…..this is ABSURD.Added to the fact that the music is CRAP. Play the theme to the movie “The Apartment”…and see what you get. A total rip-off.

    • Julian Gairdner Says:

      When the original came out Michael Crawford was 44. Then when the film came out ALW seemed to re-visit the age gap (and close it) and indeed up the sexual tension (not as apparent in the original show) between the Phantom and Christine, and now he seems to have closed the gap even more. Is the Phantom getting younger? Maybe ALW has been watching too much Benjamin Button. Haven’t seen the show yet, but as a Phantom fan (or phan) I’m not going to let the Whingers put me off!

      • Coralie Says:

        I think it’s best that we leave the travesty that was the film of PotO out of this mess, for the sake of everyone’s sanity.

        In Leroux’s original, the Phantom is in his late forties, I believe, which adds a completely different vibe to the relationship; it’s risky, frowned upon, mildly perverted depending on your POV. It’s not -supposed- to be acceptable, and relying on Erik’s appearance to make things difficult really loses the point.

      • Tiaan Says:

        Maybe Benjamin Button’s case was not that curious after all at the start of the previous century…

    • Kathy Says:

      That’s assuming that the math for the timeline is correct. In fact counting from when Phantom left until the date this travesty is supposed to take place is 26 years! That would make him in his 60’s!! His “so-called” son Gustave would actually be only a few years younger than Ramin Karimloo is in real life!! Also, if Christine got pregnant when they suggest, that would make her about 4 or 5 months pregnant during the “Masquerade” scene in POTO. Sorry, but that just doesn’t ‘fly’ as far as I’m concerned. Not to mention, THE PHANTOM NEEDS NO SEQUEL!!!!!!

      • Roger Says:

        You clearly have not listened to the lyrics and have your timeline all wrong.

        According to “Under a moonless sky” she visited the Phantom the night before C&Rs wedding. You would have us believe that they slept together the first night that she visited the Phantom’s lair– that would put them as married at the time of Masquerade. The lyrics imply that there was another meeting AFTER the end of the POTO.

    • catherine Says:

      totally agree with you. its absurd!

  10. Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

    ‘Death Never Loves’, the new Bond, opens next year.

  11. Ramin Cock-a-doodle-doo Says:

    Well really. All this hullabaloo about my age and height. You think the songs aren’t memorable? Try singing them 8 shows a week.

    Do you think they’ve cast that Bond thing yet? I could be OddJob?

    Not menacing? The stage manager said I was quite intimidating the other day.

  12. Ron Says:

    Any half-baked idiot could sing that crap 8 times a week….with a mic strapped to his head.

  13. @ Ed. ALW doesn’t really do tunes. There is music and there are melodies but not really tunes.

    • Julian Gairdner Says:

      Rubbish Andrew! OED defines tune as “melody with or without harmony”. And a web version defines tune as “a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence”.

      The Phantom of the Opera
      Don’t cry for me Argentina
      Sunset Boulevard
      So if you are the Christ…

      Need I say more.

      Stop bashing ALW…just because he’s commercially successful. 100m people can’t all be wrong!

      • Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

        I hum ‘So If You Are The Christ’ every morning while shaving.

      • Julian: Less OED more OCD , I’d say, and since you only came up with five tunes I’d say that’s QED.

        Perhaps 100m people can’t be wrong but 5m people who have seen it 20 times certainly can.

      • Julian Gairdner Says:

        Ever the journalist Andrew. Good response!!

      • Ian Shuttleworth Says:

        “100m people can’t all be wrong!” – well, 50m voted for Bush in 2000 and 62m in 2004, but to add those totals together would be false arithmetic. Really, though, have you never heard the gag “50 million flies can’t be wrong?…” – if not, I’m not going to sully this column with the punchline.

      • lapponia Says:

        Look at it the other way round. Just because something is a hit, it doesn’t necessarily make it good. There is a difference between a success and a hit, just as there is between a failure and a flop.
        “100m people can’t all be wrong”. Maybe not, but look at the millions of Americans who voted for Bush . . . twice!

  14. Scarlett in the dress circle Says:

    I actually really enjoyed the show.

    Well most of it anyway. The visuals were stunning, the costumes were gorgeous (Fleck’s and Christines song outfit – yes please!), the singers were really good! (much love for Raoul – the raging alcoholic), the lighting was to die for and all the little animation bits between scenes was like watching a film on stage. Very nice and very clever as the most I’ve ever seen that screen used for in the beginning consisted of putting up the date to set the scene. (Or maybe I’ve just not been to too many Musicals in a while?)

    Though I have to say the only thing I didn’t really enjoy was the songs. They didn’t feel especially ‘Phantom’ enough. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed ‘Beauty underneath’ and ‘Bathing Beauty’. Mostly because of the visual effects or the quick-change scene and they were possibly the most memorable songs of the lot. To me the problem was that it was too vaudaville – great for a show set on Coney Island! Not so great for the once Phantom of the Opera!

    I think that was the problem! As a sequel it really doesn’t fit with the characters or the setting. Taking Phantom out of being an outsider and putting him into a place full of freaks with his own set of sidekicks is a waste. You no longer fear for him (or in fact fear *him*). He’s got his gang and he’s no longer the loner that nobody likes. And that takes away a real part of his character.

    Change all the character names and it would be a great show! Though as a follow-up of phantom it just seemed a bit… well, ‘un-phantom-ish’.

  15. rodders Says:

    …Am convinced that the new mask graphic on the posters (and on the stage tabs) is really Angelina Jolie face. Spitting image. Poor Brad. Waking up to see that every morning.

  16. chad hudson Says:

    Ok, so is Ramin gay or straight? And has anyone seen him in the locker room at the gym and if so, well, how hung is our new Phantom? (Come on, you know you want to know these things too!)

  17. Andypip Says:

    I think this thread is losing the real point of this excellent review……seriously how good are those quick change artists on AGT?? Book ’em quick for a one year run at the Adelphi

  18. Erik Says:

    I saw the show last night (Thursday, March 4th) ALW was in the audience about four rows in front of where I was sitting.

    Unfortunately, he left in a great hurry both for the interval ABD the end, so I could not tell him what I thought face to face…

    So here it is; A wise music critic once said something like this: ” You can admire Beethoven with your head, but you can love Brahms with your heart”. This is one of those cases. I sort of admired the skills and competences that has gone into this show, but ultimatly it left me totally cold.

    This show tried to much to build on the predecessor, but the more it tried to browbeat me with its self-importance and pretentiosness, the less I bought into the franchise. This show has not understood that the musical as an art form has developed from the premiere of the “Phantom”. It totally ignores two recent trends in musicals; the style that pokes fun of the art form (e.g. Spamalot, Drowsy Chaperone and – yes even Hairspray)and the “chamber musicals” (e.g. Sunset Bouleward, Sweet Charity, etc.). As a result, it felt old,over-produced and tired… I would a hundred times more see Summer Strallen do high kicks in “Chaperone” than this!

    Having said all that, many good performances, even highly competent in many ways, but what I left with was a sense of the sheer waste of skills and talent.

    The Whingers mention “Gone with the wind; the musical”. That is not fair, nothing is as bad as that. (Except probably “Which Witch”…)

    I give it 6 months…

    Erik G

  19. The Lady Says:

    I think that Graham Rawle, of Lost Consonants fame, summed this whole sorry mess up many, many years ago with his (perhaps first) offering of “Andrew Lloyd Webber writing another hit musical”.
    I thank you.

  20. David Says:

    It was a shocker of a show, so lame and so boring.

  21. JohnnyFox Says:

    Well now I’ve seen it (for free, I wouldn’t be seen dead paying for it), I understand whereof the Whingers speak …

    Underlit, undercast and under par.

    And I suggest anyone who can hum ‘Cum Never Dries’ or whatever the title song is listens to the opening bars of this gem (I think someone else drew the parallel with ‘The Apartment’

    For me the highlight was that dreadful Strallen woman doing her Ennio Marchetto quick-change act, oh and the fact the bar does a really nice Plymouth gin and tonic with lime.

    • Voice of Reason Says:

      if i ever ever come across this ungrateful smart arse in real life i’ll do my best to make sure everyone knows who he is and never comps him again. cum never dries for him because it’s always in his hand!

  22. I’d forgotten also that the theme tune was recycled from the short-lived Beautiful Game and jacked up an octave …

    Here is just a glimpse of what this show COULD have been if Christine had been actually three-dimensional, and played by Hannah Waddingham

  23. Phil (a west end whinger) Says:

    Gosh Johnny Fox ‘The Apartment’, one of my favourite films, can’t believe I didn’t spot that.
    Bits of it very reminiscent.

    Do we sniff a Men at Work/’Land Down Under’ style lawsuit?

  24. Ian Shuttleworth Says:

    Hey, you chaps are starting to show an awareness of your critical heritage. “Christine’s surprise suggested that the Phantom had bought a new pair of trousers since she last saw him…” is surely a conscious echo of Kenneth Tynan on Vivien Leigh’s performance in Titus Andronicus, when he wrote that she “receives the news that she is about to be ravished on her husband’s corpse with little more than the mild annoyance of one who would have preferred Dunlopillo.” (So much better in the original than in the bowdlerised version that just says “…foam rubber”.)

  25. Phil (a west end whinger) Says:

    Lord W has stated: “What’s happening is that this small number of people have now got this marketplace where they can be the Benedict Nightingale [The Times’s veteran chief theatre critic] of the day.”

    What they ignore is that previews are not the same thing as the finished article, Lloyd Webber added. Audiences should understand that they are watching a work in progress.”

    So why are they charging full price for previews then?

    • JohnnyFox Says:

      Somehow I doubt if after June he’ll call them ‘The Libby Purves of the day’.

    • TTC Says:

      This actually got my goat. I always state, as do pretty much all of us, when I write a review of a preview. I even did so in this case despite the fact he’s brazenly charging full price for previews (apparently the “unfinished article” but still for top whack).

      He’s right it’s a new marketplace and press offices are going to have to learn to cope (even benefit). Clever fringe shows are getting massively more publicity than they’d ever have otherwise achieved. The fact his team have mishandled the launch of LND is his problem. All this chat of this being a launch like no other is just wrong. Yes there’s been a frankly bizarre anger at the very presence of a second phantom from some (all these phans who are almost hysterically protective of the original show), but us lot swinging in during previews and giving our opinions is something that’s been going on for several years now. He’s nothing special, “Too Close to the Sun” was thoroughly battered long before it launched. He wouldn’t be complaining if we’d all been raving.

  26. Paul Says:

    Time for proof-reading? Well, ‘Whigers’ you may need to sit through it all again.

    Brilliant review. Agree with every word. If only we had been watching paint dry, there would have been more emulsion. Geddit?!


  27. noman Says:

    looked at the rest of the plot of love never dies on wikipedia
    ah well
    I’m not happy with lord lloyd webbers sequel but i have:
    his original
    the original book (my favorite always did not like that the persian got merged into madamme giry’s character)
    the twenty or so other endings for the phantom seen time and again in other movies, plays, and tv shows (not to mention the sherlock holmes/phantom stuff)
    and i have the film version of lloyd webbers musical that he cowrote and produced (with a substantially different ending built in).
    So this wont destroy what I like about the phantom

  28. jay Says:

    I am disappointed by the lack of wig talk. Were there none?

  29. Phil (a west end whinger) Says:

    Yes there were plenty of wigs, 65 of them apparently, but not by the wigmeister Richard Mawbey so didn’t warrant a mention.

  30. Kat Says:

    My God! I’ve just remembered one of the songs started off nicking the beginning of Unchained Melody.

    Judi Dench stood on my friend’s hangbag when we went to see it on Saturday. Total high point.

  31. Ron Says:

    The NY Times was NOT kind to it at all (and rightly so). Hopefully this will not come and clog up the B’dway theatres here in NYC.

  32. Erikslady Says:

    Absolutely LOVED your review, makes me almost wish I was in the theater with you guys,you would’ve had someone else laughing along with you!

    and just for the record, us fan/phans do not think we own the musical … here is a snippet from a group I am in, it explains what most disappointed fans feel.

    “fans’ outrage is not caused by delusions of possessiveness. It is not possessive in the least to object to stories that have no legitimate basis, merely sensible. Protective may be a better word, but there are no delusions of ‘ownership’ in play here.”

    The man called the fans sad, you can’t go changing the personalities of characters from your biggest hit and expect that the fans will/should accept it.
    No, this time Andy, it is you who are Sad !

    Rant over 🙂

  33. […] trying to go to a preview of that show and get a blog post that would really boost my stats (the West End Whingers must be having kittens about their traffic), I was, instead, going to see a show that I thought I […]

  34. […] dies". Nu har debatten satt igång, och han lär få leva med att den alternativa titel den här bloggaren gav föreställningen fortsätter att nämnas."Paint never dries". Upplagd av Kjell Stjernholm […]

  35. Erikslady Says:

    Hi there Guys

    I woke up this morning to read my email, and to see what’s happening around the net, only to find that the group you’ve heard about on facebook called, “Love Should Die”, has been shut down, gone, VANISHED !

    I think I’m still in a state of disbelief, what happened to freedom of speech, I didn’t know that was owned as well !

    anyway, thought you might like to know


  36. Serena Says:

    what a bizarre plot. if the characters and their personalities would have changed so drastically, phantom might as well go to have a plastic surgery and then live happily ever after with the love of his life.

  37. Anne Says:

    The melody for “Bathing Beauty” is also a blatant plagiarism of “The Bunny Hop.”

  38. Barbara Says:

    Sort of Spolierish: I haven’t seen the show yet, but I got the soundtrack and of course after reading through the extensive booklet and listening to the whole thing through, I know the plot and of course how the whole show sounds. I feel like the characters make no sense! The Phantom, who KILLED people in the last show, is now some hero who it turns out might be a good father. Christine loved the Phantom? I find this extremely hard to believe. I always felt in the first show that she didn’t love him, but possibly appreciated the teaching he gave her and maybe even felt sorry for him. When exactly did she fall in love with him? And HE was the one to leave? Come on, he was the one obsessed with her, he would never have left if she gave him any remote chance of having her. Raoul and his declaration of love in “All I ask of You” seems quite silly now that he’s an angry drunk who barely appreciates his wife. I just feel like the characters were completely changed.

    As far as the music goes, ALW wasn’t ever going to top POTO in my opinion, so I didn’t really come listening to the CD with high expectations. But upon a few listens, I don’t find the music that moving or memorable. I like “Till I Hear You Sing” and I think the cast as a whole has a lot of talent. Like I said, no melody has really stuck with me the way the melodies from POTO did.

    …I’m not a fan of the ending.

    I’d like to see the show when it comes to NYC b/c I’m sure it’s probably visually stunning and maybe the music will grow on me. I don’t think this show will find the same success as POTO and I doubt we’ll be singing any of the songs 25 years from now.

  39. Christie Says:

    The singing is very good. But the book is quite weak, and gives little drive to the play.

  40. […] Posts Review – Imagine This The Musical! New London TheatreReview – Love Never Dies, Adelphi TheatreReview – Polar Bears, Donmar WarehouseIn which the Whingers' hopes of more allocated seating are […]

  41. lapponia Says:

    The Guardian once ran a series of illustrated headline typos, the highlight of which was “LLOYD WEBBER WRITES ANOTHER HIT MUSICAL”, the joke of course being the missing ‘S’ at the beginning of the word ‘HIT’.
    K-Tel once released an album (advertised in their time-honoured way on TV) featuring songs from 7 Webber shows, which my frinds and I christened “SEVEN SHADES OF SHIT”.

  42. lapponia Says:

    Reading the posts, I was just remembering my uni days, when I a group of student friends were fervent ALW sceptics.
    The pre-publicity his shows generate never ceases to amaze me, neither does the disappointment many people feel when they see the shows. AND he has the cheek to complain about bloggers’ bad word-of-mouth during the preview period; he is happy to rake in revenue from top West End ticket prices, even though the ‘project’ is still a work in progress.
    If you place lucre before art (which has always been ALW’s modus operandi), you desreve all the shit that gets thrown at you. After all he’s throwing it at his audiennces for decades:
    “You can polish shit until it shines, but it’s still shit!

  43. YoMamma Says:

    Life is really too short guys.

  44. Carolyn Says:

    I must admit that when I first saw LND I was very disappointed. Due to a family member buying the cast recording however I have had the opportunity to listen to the music several times and this has really changed my opinion.

    I went to see it again recently and loved every minute. The two leads are fantastic together and Ramin Karimloo’s voice is perfect for the Phantom.

    • Louise Says:

      Your first impression was a big disappointment, how many others out there came away with the same feeling !
      Why oh why did this travesty ever open !!!

  45. Love Should Die Says:

    Phantom Needs No Sequel!!

  46. Jamie Bell Says:

    Josie Walker sang the song in the Beautiful Game, I liked her version better tho Sierra is wondeful, Josie’s had more passion and pain.
    Jamie Bell

  47. […] see, the West End Whingers (of “Paint Never Dries” fame) were in town meeting everyone in sight, taking in opening night shows and parties, and even […]

  48. Whatslovegottodowiddit? Says:

    Haven’t seen it yet…don’t know that I will. PotO isn’t a love story, to me, more of a psycho thriller so I suppose I could see Raoul turning to drink after 10 years with a mentally and emotionally unstable wife and, no doubt, still suffering the effects of the PTSD from having tried to wrap his normal brain around the madness. I can also see The Phantom still pursuing his psychotic obsession with Christine and her crippling emotional issues making her unable to resist being drawn back into his version of reality (okay, that’s all about the sex and the kid and I’m really stretching to make that work, *g*).

    But, really…prostitution? Striptease? Continuing the misogynistic bent of ALW’s original PotO by having poor Meg Giry be the brunt of the exploitation? Would have made more sense for Mme G to go bonkers. Still, Christine is with her beloved daddy, Raoul is finally free of the “freakshow”, and The Phantom, apparently, comes up short at the end…

    ALW goes all Russell T. Davies at fans who don’t like his stuff and, oh yeah. I’ll pass.

  49. Ashley Says:

    Honestly, despite the good things you found in Love Never Dies, I am totally against everything else. I have heard the music, and I loved it. I wouldn’t find it tedious. I like the plot and I was really sad when i found out about the ending. But the only thing I find annoying is that Andrew Lloyd Webber should have at least kept to some of the details from the original story.

  50. Stevie Says:

    Well do we compare LND with POTO or with what else is on offer in the land of darlings and air kizzing? Virgin viewed on consecutive nights this week I’m going to have to see them both again.

    When the curtain went up I thought it was the wrong theatre; but then I remembered that Titanic never made it to NY. Perhaps it’s the cast, crashing waves, seagulls, night scenes and promenades; alas Ms. Dion didn’t turn up. Not a sniff of Blackpool, no dazzling carousel of light bulbs, no big dippers; but isn’t that what Coney Island was? A few spooky-gloomy projections and a sign saying ‘Three Months Later’ – never underestimate the intelligence of an audience, even if they are all tourists from over the pond. The best bit of the whole evening is this strand’s pizza-hut takeaway on the threesome round-a-bout scene: that did look cheap. Morecombe & Wise did it decades ago [U-tube clip], I’m still struggling to stay on my seat, going to the doc’ in the morning with a suspected hernia, I laughed so much.

    Agreed; after getting his leg over on the eve of her wedding you wouldn’t expect the besotted Phantom to buzz off; and his murderous past does cause character development and cred’ problems in this sequel. An uncomfortable few minutes for Meg near the end didn’t quite work; her time would have been well spent stalking (& shooting) the director and producer – now that would be a show for Fred’ to write.

    The Adelphi FOH staff admitted there had been a lot of revisions and empty seats since opening night, there’s still some tweaking to do and probably it will only come together with a fresh oversee. Two of the most successful musicals of all time (Les Mis’ & POTO) are based on established French works, this sequel is based on a treatment by a lad from Catford. It appears LBW fell out with Forsyth, get him back as a consultant, he’s intelligent! ..and throw another £500k at the show. Some good songs and tunes, clumsy storyline, staging high and lows, A1 cast. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up like Titanic just yet, take some Kleenex.

  51. Simon Says:

    Saw it recently and it was excellent. The highlight was the score. What I love most of all is how ALW continues to wind up middle class snooty old farts like the Whingers. You imply he is unoriginal – but how original are comments such as ‘we laughed at things which wearn’t meant to be funny’. Hilarious, guys, hilarious. I can hear you snivelling from behind your cravats now. I would sooner spend a few hours in a theatre listening to a Lloyd Webber than reading the predictable and snide comments from you two dullards.

  52. J.A. Says:

    At least these dullards aren’t charging £95 for their Premium blogs though!

  53. Kitty Says:

    Dear oh dear. Today I saw Paint Never Dries – I just thought the story was preposterous. I hummed and ha’ed whether to get tickets after reading the somewhat mixed reviews but decided to make my own mind up (anyway it’s kids week meaning I could get a free child ticket and take my son along – still a bit of a cost though at £67 per ticket plus train fare and ice cream!).

    What a load of old hokum – I’ve re-read your review and have to say I completely agree with the comments of the whingers. I laughed heartily when I read your observation of Christine’s performance of her big number on the revolving stage with the two foes looking on (you are just so spot on!). Meg Giri reminded me throughout of Bonnie Langford and I struggled to try and let go of that thought. The saving grace of the whole thing was the phenomenal Ramin Karimloo – his voice is just superb.

    Ultimately, the storyline didn’t really make much sense – the freaks definitely reminded me of the cast of the Rocky Horror Show (in fact, at one point when they appeared I drifted off and started to think about the outfit I might don in December as I have tickets for that show when it comes to Aylesbury). LND is tedious although I wasn’t bored as the projections were interesting (in between the gloomy, “empty stage” sections of the show). I didn’t feel at all uplifted when I walked out of the theatre at the end – I sort of gave a shrug of the shoulders and thought “is that it?”. Shame really.

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  56. Louise Says:

    I’m also laughing OUT loud 😐

  57. Robert Steiner Says:

    I heard the LND album and saw the show on Oct. 3rd 2010. I was quite perplexed in hearing and seeing a Phantom unlike the one we all know and love from the previous show. I was quite disappointed in seeing that even on stage, the MYTH had turned to a MAN, jinxed at that! After all, the “Phans” all love the mysterious man, half assassin, half passionate lover.

    I think that LND would benefit from a change in the script and I hope ALW performs changes in this direction. I’m a musical author (currently working in Rome, Italy) and the changes I’d make would be as follows. I’d eliminate the first part of Scene 7 (ACT II) up until when Christine calls for Gustave. Then I would add the following, right after the song LOVE NEVER DIES:

    (PHANTOM is alone backstage rejoicing for Christine’s choice.)

    PHANTOM: (Sung) Ah, Christine! My Christine! What a triumph you gave me tonight! My Christine! All the dark, silent years now set right! Ah, Christine!

    (RAOUL arrives.)

    RAOUL: I won’t give her up to you.
    PHANTOM: Is it your love or your pride that’s talking?
    RAOUL: Christine won’t be won by a murderer. I will see to that. (Pulls out a gun)
    PHANTOM: (Gestures and a magical lassoo ties itself around RAOUL’s throat. Sung to the music of “Order your fine horses now…” from POTO) Dare to cross the Phantom now. Raise up your hand to the level of your eyes. No one will save you now, not even Christine!

    (The music reaches its climax and RAOUL dies. PHANTOM realizes what he has done and collapses on the floor in despair. CHRISTINE arrives.)

    CHRISTINE: Raoul! RAOUL!!!! (Runs to RAOUL. To PHANTOM) Why?
    PHANTOM: I couldn’t let him have you and Gustave again. (Sung to the music of “Let hopes pass, let dreams pass…”) Forgive me, I beg you, if you can. Love awoke the beast I loathe…
    CHRISTINE: …how long ’till you decide to kill us all? All my love for you…has gone. (Talked, while crying) You’ve no beauty underneath.

    (CHRISTINE turns to leave and calls for Gustave, who doesn’t answer.)

    The scene then continues from when PHANTOM says “What’s wrong?”, eliminating the part where he thinks it was RAOUL who kidnapped the boy.

    During the last scene, when CHRISTINE is mortally wounded, just before PHANTOM sings “Once upon another time…”, the following lines are added:

    PHANTOM: (Singing) Christine I love you…
    CHRISTINE: I know you do…

    These few changes do the following to the show:

    1) Raoul is no longer portrayed as a drunken coward that leaves just because he lost a bet, but is willing to fight and die for the woman he loves

    2) The Phantom is still the virile, fascinating and passionate man we all know, willing to kill for Christine

    3) There’s a valid reason for Christine wanting to leave as soon as possible

    4) There’s a redemption at the end of the story.

    Hope my rewiew helps the writers to rethink the ending of the show, which would benefit everyone, especially hardcore POTO fans like me. Cheers! 🙂

    Robert Steiner

  58. Stevie Says:

    ‘Persuaded myself to see the enhanced version of LBW’s PND tonight. The opening scene is no longer reminiscent of Titanic (Stevie’s review above 15.7.2010), and the audience is attributed with a little more intelligence. There are less video instructions, (‘three months later’), a bad habit in UK shows perhaps lifted from a trend in the USA? A FOH staff member commented that there were noticeably less patrons leaving the theatre in tears since re-versioning; surprising since the ending was improved and more powerful; albeit editing a few seconds could hasten the pace to conclusion and final curtain. At least Meg no longer has to sit there twiddling her thumbs whilst her mate fades way.

    Inevitably the show has become a production by committee; the latest being Kenwright putting his four penneth in. I didn’t know they were such chums, perhaps he’s agreed to underwrite some of the sure-to-be losses should LBW venture into Broadway. It’s not that this show doesn’t deserve to succeed in NY but the yanks will have already watched its roller-coaster development and are primed on how to shoot it down. Our special relationship with the USA is all but dead and welcoming anything Brit’ is only if on their terms – a big chunk of the profits. So LBW, if you really must risk Broadway make sure 51% of the show is owned by Americansus.

    My best wishes to a talented and hard working team at the Adelphi, simply A1. Loved it once again, tissues required.

  59. […] bloggers reviewing previews.  Andrew Lloyd Webber, no doubt bruised after his experience with ‘Love Never Dies’, seems to have found a solution.  He invited that lofty arbiter of the arts The Sun into the first […]

  60. […] during the preview period a pair of theatre bloggers, the West End Whingers, christened the show Paint Never Dries. The sobriquet stuck and the insurance policy of previews went completely out the window. Even […]

  61. […] killed off this show.  Even the famous ‘Paint Never Dries’ artwork from the West End Whingers became famous because it was endlessly circulated – they […]

  62. […] runs reviews are a useful tool to publicise your show quickly to its audience. Even shows in the West End can often be hurt or helped by them. A high critical approval rating can translate into ticket […]

  63. […] (Sven?) pointed out that the West End Whingers review of Paint Never Dries would never have reached such a large audience if it wasn’t for broadcast media picking up on […]

  64. Phanto Says:

    We saw the “movie version” of Love Never Dies” it was very awful!!! Very awful!!! I will not blindly follow anything Lloyd Webber creates, just for the heck of it. As I watched this movie with an open mind-most of it was ok until the end. As huge, huge Phantom of the Opera fans (we’ve seen it over 50 times all over the world) we absolutely hated the ending of Love Never Dies–no wonder it closed in London after only 18 months! It looked to me like Andrew Lloyd Webber had PURE revenge on his former wife. He wrote Christine for her and he wanted “closure” from Sarah Brightman!!! Most of the movie was not bad -all of the actors were very good (even the little boy) and the music was not bad as well except for the story line in the very end–it needs to change if it is to ever be remotely salvaged. We are very disappointed, many people around us were equally upset, confused and silently walked out of the theater! Closure indeed! I guess he thought he made her he can destroy her too! That’s one way to get revenge on your ex wife! Way to go Webber- you just destroyed everything you built right along with this ill-fated movie.

  65. […] Six original musicals will not feature, though it is not yet known which. It would be a surprise were the game to include songs from Jeeves, his collaboration with Alan Acykbourn that lasted only 38 performances in 1975, or his 2010 flop Love Never Dies, famously christened Paint Never Dries by theatre bloggers the West End Whingers. […]

  66. […] Six original musicals will not feature, though it is not yet known which. It would be a surprise were the game to include songs from Jeeves, his collaboration with Alan Acykbourn that lasted only 38 performances in 1975, or his 2010 flop Love Never Dies, famously christened Paint Never Dries by theatre bloggers the West End Whingers. […]

  67. […] Paint Never Dries by the West End Whingers blog (who have written an accurate and very funny review), I didn’t come across that review until […]

  68. […] in 2010 with his Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies, which never really recovered from being labelled Paint Never Dries by waspish bloggers the West End Whingers. Lloyd Webber moaned that theatregoers needed to […]

  69. […] Six original musicals will not feature, though it is not yet known which. It would be a surprise were the game to include songs from Jeeves, his collaboration with Alan Acykbourn that lasted only 38 performances in 1975, or his 2010 flop Love Never Dies, famously christened Paint Never Dries by theatre bloggers the West End Whingers. […]

  70. […] the past we’ve seen shows such as Love Never Dies fall victim to early reaction on social media. Book of Mormon, however, very cleverly used social […]

  71. […] conclusion, it’s not as bad as the ‘paint never dries‘ notion this blog said, but phantastic? Not exactly. Still, the experience of going to […]

  72. […] from Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet to Harry Potter. It was during one such preview run that the West End Whingers review of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2010 musical Love Never Dies scathingly rechristened the follow-up to Phantom of the Opera as Paint Never […]

  73. […] an inordinate amount of swearing, this had the amazing effect of making me actually want to watch paint dry instead: it’s not only the gods who will be weeping by the end of this […]

  74. […] an inordinate amount of swearing, this had the amazing effect of making me actually want to watch paint dry instead: it’s not only the gods who will be weeping by the end of this […]

  75. […] You shall not take the name of the Lord Webber in vain again. Revisiting Love Never Dies would be preferable to sitting through this […]

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