Theatre Review: Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre

This serial Phantom follower is enchanted by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel LOVE NEVER DIES - recently recast with a new female lead.

Right, let’s get this out in the open - I’m a married man... and I absolutely love The Phantom of the Opera. Phew!

OK, I feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders - a weight that got heavier each of the six times I’ve been to see the show penned by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

But with the release last year of a sequel to the award-winning smash, what’s a 21st century man to do? Get along and see Love Never Dies - to appease romantic souls like myself who wanted to know what happened to the Phantom and his one true love Christine after the curtain dropped and the tears flowed first time round.

Set 10 years after the Paris-based original, the Phantom has avoided capture and death and moved lock, stock and barrel to Coney Island, New York - a location full of fun fairs and freaks. A perfect new home then?

Perhaps not as the masked man pines away unable to write any more stirring tunes without his beautiful lady - until finally he hatches a plot to get her to perform at his new and slightly less glamorous theatre venue.

With a host of special effects, Love Never Dies delivers a spectacular visual feast as fairground horses run through the air while carousel music plays and big wheels spin in the distance. Most of the main characters return but unlike the original there are fewer big dance numbers.

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The role of the Phantom is taken by Iranian-born Ramin Karimloo, who remains since the show’s launch last year - and thank goodness... because he can really sing. Ramin utilises his rock band past to deliver a stunning vocal performance throughout.

Celia Graham as Christine has to work hard not to be outshone by her leading man - but a standing ovation from approving Phantom fans was a suitable reward for her own fine voice.

Love Never Dies is a brilliant follow-up to the original. Anyone worrying the Phantom will have lost his magic touch needn’t as I left the theatre humming a whole new batch of catchy songs - and preparing to book my next visit. Damn! Here we go again!

* Showing at the Adelphi Theatre, in the Strand, WC2.