Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 10, 2011

Friday, 8th July 2011 – another visit to the musical theatre

Looking ahead to this weekend’s football match, the Blues are back on the winners list after a massive victory over the Tigers at the MCG last Saturday. It was a great response after the previous weekend’s defeat however it is now in the history books; the focus now is the Western Bulldogs on Sunday at Etihad Stadium, a late game, starting at 4.40 pm. No television coverage for me, and I doubt I will want to travel into the city at that time, looks like a radio description for me this weekend!  The Carlton team will have a final training session tomorrow morning to which members and supporters are invited. I wonder how many they get along to those sessions? I certainly recall back in the days when Carlton were regular Grand Finalists, and going along to the final training session on the Thursday night before the final, where massive crowds would turn up, and that still happens today for the big matches whatever the team!  I recall seeing a report a few days ago from England, talking about a upcoming soccer match between two English teams [perhaps it ewas a few weeks ago, as that season has finished] – anyway, the report was from a similar training session for one of the teams, and the stadium concerned, seemed to be full, just to watch their heroes ‘train’ and basically run around!!! Fanatical supporters in the UK!

In the office, after yesterday’s rather ‘full on’ effort to print, package and despatch the organisation’s latest Newsletter, it was a relief to have a more ‘relaxed’ mood around the work place throughout today. Certainly, inside was the place to be, with the weather extremely cold and unpleasant throughout the day.

Now of course, everyone is familiar with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s [ALW]  ‘Phantom of the Opera’, which is estimated to have been seen by over 100 million people world wide [I saw two different productions here in Melbourne over a decade] – a love story that is widely regarded as the most successful piece of entertainment in history. Well, ALW eventually created his sequel to that story – ‘Love Never Dies’, and together with eldest daughter Susan, and her Mum, Shirley, I went along to Melbourne’s Regent Theatre tonight to see that show.  Before doing so, at Susie’s suggestion, we visited a popular but relatively small Japanese Restaurant at the top end of Bourke Street,  for dinner – quick service, and for me, a tasty dish, although I must admit, I didn’t really attempt a full-on Japanese meal – didn’t really want to try anything tonight ‘too different’ to my normal tastes, before attending a theatre show!! 

Love Never Dies –  not sure if that was the best possible title – love never dies- it did in some respect, though it was ‘resurrected’ in another direction, but you will need to see the show yourself to ascertain the actual ending!!  I don’t want to give it all away!  This apparently is first new Australian production of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in nearly 20 years, and Melbourne is only the 2nd city in the world to host LOVE NEVER DIES. A brief synopsis of the Show: –

The Year is 1907. It is ten years after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House and he has escaped to a new life in New York having found a place amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island.   From the Gothic surrounds of the Paris Opera House to the dazzling heights of New York’s Coney Island – the Phantom returns. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spectacular new musical reunites the masked Phantom with his only true love and musical protégée, the stunning beauty Christine Daaé. Love Never Dies is a roller-coaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance – where little is as it first appears.  With Madame Giry’s help the Phantom escaped the Paris mobs to build a glittering new empire in the new world. For ten long years the Phantom has hidden himself amongst the freaks and sideshows nursing his broken heart and yearning for his true love to return. The performance opens with the tortured Phantom longing to hear the voice of Christine again through the opening song ‘Til I Hear You Sing’

Meanwhile, back in Europe, blinded by money and the bright lights of Coney – Christine, with Raoul and their son Gustave, is lured to America to perform one final time, but unaware that it is the Phantom who has arranged for her appearance in the popular beach resort.  But Christine soon discovers the true identity of the mysterious impresario who has tempted her across the Atlantic. As old wounds are reopened and forgotten memories unlocked – The Phantom sets out to prove that, indeed, Love Never Dies.  The plot is not based on the story-line in the original book by Gaston Leroux, and Lloyd Webber has stated “I don’t regard this as a sequel – it’s a stand-alone piece” but for all intents and purposes, with some of the former main characters involved, it’s difficult to look at it in any other way!

It was interesting to go to a new show, about which one had little idea of how the storyline was going to go, and the glamorous program available for purchase didn’t clearly provide any detailed synopsis – I found a complete Act by Act summary on the internet, but won’t spoil the mystery of the Show by spelling that out here, readers can search for that at their will. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening – Susie’s view was that it surpassed the Phantom of the Opera!!  She was quite impressed with the majesty of the stage settings and scenery changes which seem to get better and better with each new show, certainly some spectacular affects on this occasion,  while the voices of the two or three lead performers in their singing roles were absolutely wonderful – not necessarily household names unless you were a regular theatre enthusiasts  but nevertheless magnificent performances –  Ben Lewis as the Phantom, Anna O’Byrne as Christine, Simon Gleeson as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, Maria Mercedes as Madame Giry and Sharon Millerchip as Meg Giry. The role of Christine & Raoul’s son, Gustave was shared by five different boy actors, not sure which one was performing tonight, but Susie didn’t like him!! Guy Simpson was the conductor of the Orchestra, and their music also formed a major aspect of the enjoyment of ‘Love Never Dies’.  Needless to say, I purchased a copy of the 2CD recording of the show, and some of that music will form much of next Tuesday evening’s Showtime program!

Interesting to note the variety of what is worn to the theatre these days! Of particular amusement were the three scantily dressed young women sitting nearby to us – despite the comfortable warmth of the theatre, it was still a basically freezing night in Melbourne [as we would rediscover on our exit just before 11 pm] – that kind of disregard for the weather was accentuated on our walk up to the car park a couple of blocks from the theatre – nearby was one of Melbourne ‘Nightclubs’ were queues of young people standing around in the narrow street waiting for their turn to gain admittance. It was the girls in particular who were waiting in that crowd, who were virtually dressed in skimpy summer dresses, and generally no apparent warmer clothing [jackets, etc] to cover themselves from the extremely chill wind and typical winter’s night freeze!!! Perhaps they only ‘suffer’ after the night’s dancing and drinking is over, but at the beginning ignore what is to come!!

Relaxing drive home to Sunbury, although light rain starting to fall as we headed out on the Calder Highway – brief stop at the service centre out there, the two ladies wanted some McDonald’s chips!!  I gave that a miss! Shirley had left her car at the Sunbury Railway Station, thankfully it was still there, if not looking a little lonely – occasionally, cars left in the car parks which tend to empty fairly quickly as the evening moves along, can be the target of unwanted attention!  Back home, we received some desperate attention from two cats, which Susie had neglected to feed before she left earlier this evening to meet me in the city, where I had., as usual travelled straight from work.

Close to midnight, but not immediately in the mood for bed, so watched a little of the Tour de France – it was Stage 7 today [tonight] – long flat 215 kms from Le Mans to Chateauroux, which saw 193 riders take to the start. The HTC team which has struggled with their team of riders over past days, timed things well this time, enabling Britains’ Mark  Cavendish to sprint to his second stage win of this year’s Tour.  The second peloton finished the stage over 3 minutes later, with some riders not coming in until 12 minutes behind Cavendish. There was no change to the leading two riders – Norway’s Thor Hushovd and Australia’s Cadel Evans following tonight’s stage.

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