As part of his weekly The Shows Must Go On series, Andrew Lloyd Webber is putting recorded versions of his shows on YouTube for 48 hours at a time. This week it's the turn of Phantom sequel 'Love Never Dies'.
Ok... where do I start?
The Phantom of the Opera has been running for over 33 years in the West end and 32 years on Broadway.
Love Never Dies lasted 18 months on the West end and never made it to Broadway.
Throughout its run, the show was revised and rewritten and eventually went to Australia with another rewritten version. This is the version currently streaming.
The show starts in strong fashion with the amazing 'Til I Hear You Sing'. This makes you think maybe this show could escape the Andrew Lloyd Webber of having one good song in a show (Hello, Cats) but nope. This is the one and only good song in the show. After that, it goes downhill fast.
The plot... is there somewhere apparently, but with most ALW shows, the plot is optional. The staging is pretty spectacular but that's the only positive I can really say about this show. This is basically The Phantom of the Circus. The basic plot that is there is predictable as it comes. Stevie Wonder could see the twists coming.
To put it simply, the show is a huge mess. Characters you thought you knew and loved from Phantom are rewritten and changed in such a way, it only goes to ruin the legacy of the original. It is written like bad fan fiction - it's the equivalent of a teenage girl writing a racy story about her 2 favourite members of One Direction and it being turned into a musical. Although they would probably be able to do a better job than Andrew.
The Phantom loses all mystery and intrigue - in this he just walks around casually like he's queuing to get in to his local Sainsburys. Then there is the ending. What the Hell was that? I won't spoil it for anyone who wishes to subject themselves to this but it is laughable for how ridiculous it is.
I find Andrew Lloyd Webber shows very inconsistent. There are a couple of his shows I love, a couple I tolerate and a fair few I can't stand. This could well be the worst thing he has ever put his name to, although it is hard to knock Cats off of that title.
To summarise - a mess that doesn't know what it wants to be. At best it's terrible fan fiction, at worst it's an insult to musical theatre and The Phantom of the Opera itself.
Watch it if you dare at https://www.youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon - Available until Sunday.
Final thought - Why does the Phantom appear without his wig like he has just snatched it off randomly? Maybe the 3rd installment of the series will see the Phantom lipsyncing for his life on RuPauls Drag Race?