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Phantom of the Opera @ Birmingham Hippodrome

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Hauntingly romantic musical is unmissable
A hauntingly emotional storyline, huge extravagant sets and some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most memorable, timeless songs - it's no wonder that the Phantom of the Opera has become one of the most popular musicals in the world.

Phantom of the Opera is unmissable at Birmingham Hippodrome

More than 25 years after it was created, this anniversary tour arrived for its final leg at Birmingham Hippodrome with a slightly refreshed production. But hardcore fans need not worry as it hasn't changed too much of the well-loved show, and the production is still just as mesmerising from start to finish.

Choreographer Matthew Bourne is among the talent that oversaw the update, which is a big budget production with a capital B. Sets are extravagantly detailed, transporting the audience to an almost gothic-style 19th Century France.

There's huge marble sculptures, a gondola glides along a flame-lit smoky underwater lake, and the opera house has golden balconies overlooking the stage.

Then there is the huge chandelier that dangles precariously over the audience throughout the show. It plays a central role later in the performance and is one of many exciting special effects that add to the drama in an interactive way.

Set in an opera house spookily haunted by 'The Phantom', the story follows talented chorus singer Christine and her rise to fame thanks to guidance and assistance behind the scenes by a mysterious masked 'music angel'. Things start to turn quite dark when her admirer realises she is in love with another man.

Despite overtones of gloom, murder and unwanted infatuation, the music is often extremely romantic. Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this musical for his wife at the time, Sarah Brightman, who starred in the original, and many of the musical creations really stir up the emotions.

Phantom of the Opera contains hauntingly romantic songs

All I Ask Of You is particularly heartfelt, as is The Music of the Night and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. They were enhanced further by the excellent performances and voices of Katie Hall as Christine, Earl Carpenter as The Phantom and Simon Bailey as love interest Raoul.

Over nearly three hours, this production has the ability to completely absorb you into the story and music. It leaves you feeling emotional, exhilirated and intent on some day seeing it all over again. Unforgettable and simply unmissable.

Phantom of the Opera continues at Birmingham Hippodrome until May 4.
Tickets cost £22 - £60 from 0844 338 5000 or Birmingham Hippodrome.
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Why? Hauntingly romantic world-famous musical
When: Until May 4
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: £22 to £60
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