A quick disclaimer before I launch into what will probably read like a bit of a grumble or small rant: Love Never Dies was not an awful performance. I generally dislike musicals as I find myself frequently wanting to scream out “Just stop bloody singing and say it!” but that doesn’t mean I hate them and I have a certain fondness for Phantom of the Opera at least. The performers themselves did a fantastic job with the material given (with the exception of a ten year old boy who might have been a volunteer from the audience or somebody on the crew’s nephew) and despite the fact that the story, setup and most of the songs weren’t very good did not stop me from enjoying my evening. This could possibly be because of my general disposition for anything shown at the theatre generally being “good until bored to tears” that saved it for me, or it could have been the one or two redeeming moments after the interval, or it could have been the fact that I’d heard it was awful going in and was thus very happy that I wasn’t going to have to grit my teeth and say to people afterwards that I enjoyed it when I didn’t. I am as of writing this, not gritting my teeth, so I am therefore perfectly happy.
Love Never Dies takes off “ten long years” after the events in the Phantom of the Opera. Don’t worry if you can’t remember that fact as you will be reminded of it several times throughout the performance in all mediums, including dialogue, song and spinning-newspaper-headline forms. We have well and truly left the Paris opera theatre burned to the ground and are shown that a couple of the key players from Paris have relocated to Coney Island in America to set up a sideshow under the name of “Phantasma”. Oh, and the sideshow is owned by the Opera Ghost himself, the Phantom. We are told that Madame Giry and her daughter Meg helped him set it up and that he’s been running it for “ten long years” and that he has been unable to really write anything for “ten long years” because he has been apart from Christine for “ten long years”. The plot comes along when Christine and husband Raul with tone-deaf son turn up “ten long years” after the opera house in Paris burned down and are reunited with the Phantom who essentially kidnaps them as they get off the boat. From there unravels a paper thin plot resulting in a brain dead reveal and a slightly rushed ending.
I will reiterate. It is not good, but it is not devoid of any enjoyment. I just want to state again that I didn’t hate this. This is not a post born out of hate.
On the off chance that anyone reading this considers anything else I say to be spoilers, I will put the rest behind the jump.