Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess
in Love Never Dies
(© Catherine Ashmore)
Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess
in Love Never Dies
(© Catherine Ashmore)
Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, playing at the West End's Adelphi Theatre, invited reviewers to revisit the show, following changes that have been made to both script and production, implemented by producer/director Bill Kenwriight, choreographer Bill Dreamer, and lyricist Charles Hart.

The production stars Ramin Karimloo as The Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine, along with Joseph Millson (Raoul), Liz Robertson (Madam Giry), Summer Strallen (Meg Giry), Niamh Perry (Fleck), Adam Pearce (Squelch), and Jami Reid-Quarrell (Gangle).

The reviews of the revisions all tend to concur that the show is stronger for the changes that have been made, but that there is still work to be done on the piece. Plans right now are for the show to be mounted in Toronto and Australia, while dates for a Broadway production are still undetermined.

Among the reviews are:

Daily Telegraph
Love Never Dies, Adelphi Theatre, review
"The changes clarify the narrative, and, instead of a slow-burn opening burdened with great chunks of back-story, the piece now starts with the Phantom, the chap we have after all come to see, delivering one of the show's finest songs..."

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"It would be tragic if this deeply moving and heartfelt show failed when tacky movie spin-offs such as Dirty Dancing are packing the punters in."

Evening Standard
Love Never Dies
"The positive news is that this rather lachrymose companion to The Phantom of the Opera is now more fluid and coherent, as well as more emotionally satisfying. But it is still repetitious, lacks real suspense and suffers from the fact that several key characters feel one-dimensional."

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"Some of the most obvious alterations stem from the recruitment of lyricist Charles Hart to adjust the cadences of the original clunky lines written by Glenn Slater.

"There are also lots of bracing directorial touches; the show is credited to Jack O'Brien, but it is new choreographer Bill Deamer and producer Bill Kenwright who have added the zest. The result is a more atmospheric production that does justice to Bob Crowley's flamboyant, largely gothic designs and Jon Driscoll's dreamlike projections."

The Independent
Love Never Dies, Adelphi Theatre, London
"Kenwright's tweaks have given both added focus and added dramatic tension to the show. Gone is the distracting opening with a sub-plot seeming to dominate proceedings, and we are thrown straight in to the coming together of the two principals, the Phantom and his beloved Christine."

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"It's a good musical that has got better and rewards a second viewing."

The Stage
Love Never Dies
"Since the Phantom sequel -- more a companion piece, really -- opened last March, the tinkering has been non-stop. For those of us who loved the show back then it's hard to see why.

"This is Lloyd Webber's best score -- jagged, poisoned, macabre, brilliantly conceived and orchestrated -- since the first Phantom, and in many ways its equal."

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"The first Phantom score is quoted several times, but this show has its own big numbers - none bigger than the stunning theatrical presentation of Christine's comeback with the title song - and it's hard to see it not surviving the freeze and going on, as planned, to conquer Toronto, Australia, and Broadway. The finale is top hole Verdian melodramatic. And Bob Crowley's design and Paule Constable's lighting are simply the best."

Variety (Subscription)
Love Never Dies
"...changes have been made, most significantly to the opening and closing of the show. These have resulted in definite improvements to the storytelling. Despite the intermittent effects of well-sung, powerfully orchestrated numbers from a 21-piece band, however, the story itself, and thus the show, remains weak.

"The names of Jack O'Brien's creative team remain on the bill, and the only new name is Charles Hart, a collaborator from the original "Phantom," who has provided additional lyrics. Yet there is new staging and rejiggered material rehearsed by incoming producer Bill Kenwright and choreographer Bill Deamer. The overall effect is less that of a rewrite, more that of an effective reordering."

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"...the staging, albeit now more streamlined, remains largely illustrative rather than dynamic. Tweaks appear to have been made for character clarity, helped by a cast remaining in command of the material. Boggess' soprano voice in particular remains rich, but there's nothing she can do with the one-dimensional woebegone character."

Whatsonstage.com
Love Never Dies
"The entire show is a visual feast, with New York's Coney Island created beautifully with a mixture of huge sets, mystifying angled backdrops and stunning projection, however the animated storytelling stretched between the proscenium never quite makes up for the lack of narrative or emotion delivered on stage."

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"This is still a musical which does not quite mesh, but it is worth noting the second act is far stronger than the first. It also provides a vehicle for impressive performances - the slowly revolving Sierra Boggess delivering the tremendous operatic aria and title tune, demonstrating that the raw ingredients of a formidable piece of musical theatre are in there somewhere."