Mixed Reviews for Phantom of the Opera Sequel

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Love Never Dies garnered mixed first reviews this week after the world premier of the highly anticipated sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

The musical was given a standing ovation on Tuesday night, but some newspaper critics voiced scepticism about Briton Lloyd-Webber’s follow-up to his world-wide blockbuster Phantom.

“A hit? Not quite. It is too much an also-ran to the prequel, and its opening is too stodgy,” wrote the Daily Mail’s reviewer, adding that the show “lacks human connection.”

The Guardian awarded the show three out of five stars, saying: “What the show lacks, in a nutshell, is a narrative tension,” while praising the costumes as “a glorious pastiche of burlesque tackiness.”

The new show, which opened at London’s Adelphi Theatre, is set in New York a decade after the end of the original musical.

In The Times, reviewer Benedict Nightingale said the modern Phantom, played by Ramin Karimloo, lacks emotion, having “clearly taken an anger management course since landing in New York.”

“So where’s the tension…? That’s not helped by a narrative that might have been part-written by Ibsen’s ghost, there’s so much earnest poring over the past,” he added.

An online debate also started on social networking site Facebook, where Lloyd-Webber devotees set up a group called Love Should Die to voice their disappointment.

Its mission statement called the show a “misguided venture” that fails to do live up to its world-beating predecessor.

The original has been seen by 100 million people worldwide and been performed in 15 languages. The sequel comes almost a quarter of a century after the first Phantom, which also received negative reviews on the opening night.

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