The Phantom of the Opera Review

One of the things I like about J is his willingness to join me do the things that I enjoy doing (except shopping). Dating him made me appreciate creating memories together and experiencing new things as a couple over buying material things for each other. Since last year was tough year for me, I made a conscious effort to fill 2020 with more activities to facilitate creating happy memories for me and my significant other. We had 98 Degrees in January and for this month, we watched The Phantom of the Opera, as my advanced Valentine’s Day present.

Surprisingly, I have not seen a musical since coming to Toronto 15 years ago. I have always been meaning to see a show, but something always seems to come up that makes me unable to go. After watching the movie, I have added Phantom to my must-see list of musicals live before I die. As luck would have it, the company has returned to Toronto just before Valentine’s Day and J has agreed to be my date. We managed to buy tickets for their second to the last day of the show in town. The Princess of Wales Theatre was fully packed but luckily, we were still able to get decent balcony seats.

What can I say about the show? Well to start, I am so glad that I watched the movie first before the musical… because seeing it live was so much better than the movie rendering. Here’s why:

  • The set was done so well. They used a rotating component to quickly change sets for the different scenes. Seeing the stairs leading down to Erik’s underground lair emerge from that rotating column was fascinating to watch. The music box was my favourite prop of the stage. Add to that the use of smoke, fire, and a bit of pyrotechnics to complete the magical experience.
  • The actors were simply amazing. As expected of professional singers, I found myself tearing up at some parts. My heart was with them all throughout the show. I have to say, it was very difficult to restrain myself from singing with the actors out loud. Derrick Davis’ Erik was very compelling. I felt his genuine love for Christine, even if he had a weird way of showing it. Erik put me through a roller coaster of emotions: he creeped me out with his stalking, but made me sympathize with him and his desire to be loved.
  • Of course, it won’t be a musical without the orchestra. And I absolutely loved them. Nothing really beats hearing the musical scores performed live. Being in the theatre and watching all of these elements come together (lights, music, actors, set) was truly an experience, and so much better than the movies. Sorry, Gerard Butler.

Overall, I will rate the experience a 9/10. It was almost perfect, except for the part that the theatre was selling exorbitantly-priced concessions. I guess the production company is not to blame for this, however it’s hard to rate this a 10 when I was so hungry towards the end of the show (I usually skip breakfast and the show started at 2:00pm). Note to self and those interested in watching a musical as a date activity: eat a huge meal before the show.

As a date experience, this is definitely a 10/10 if you’re the type of couple who enjoys watching plays and/or musicals together. Perhaps ask your partner ahead of time if they would be interested in watching one with you. I know some guys out there aren’t really into the musicals, so best to give them a heads up before buying the tickets. Although I will admit that I did not follow my own advice since I never really gave J much of an option when I went ahead and bought the tickets before telling him about it. In my defence, I knew that the only time he would say no to me is if he already has something planned for that day ahead of time.

In terms of budget, the price point for this activity is fairly reasonable, considering that I bought the tickets in November and the show dates were already almost sold out. I would suggest to keep a lookout on Groupon as well, as they would have some deals on some shows from time to time. Depending on how popular the show is, sometimes the platform would have some tickets available. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Phantom but I knew I still wanted to see it.

As I end today’s insomniac review, let me share the song that I have been listening to on repeat as I write this entry:

Honestly, I was singing this song for days after the show

Like Erik, I think we all desire to be loved for who we are. That’s what makes his character so relatable. We all have our own deformities: some external, others internal. Finding someone who will accept you in all your imperfect glory is indeed a blessing, and sometimes a rarity. Remember to thank your loved ones – parents, friends, significant other – for loving YOU. Not everyone is that lucky.

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