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Phantom Menace

May 2nd 2001
Written for the Wandsworth Guardian




Ken Hill's spoof of The Phantom of the Opera was unmasked at Fairfield Hall's Ashcroft Theatre on Monday for one week only.

Billed as a hilarious adaptation of Gaston Leroux's original novel this production certainly did encourage titters and guffaws from the audience but it was the beautiful voices of the cast that really stole the show.

The superb voices and musical score was enough to stir the seated but what with the back slapping, puddle-pushing, nudge, nudge wink humour on board memories of Bruce Forsyth trying his best to be funny came flooding back.

This musical production stars Fascinating Aida's Adele Anderson as Madam Giry, Jay Marcus of Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard fame as Raoul, Michael McCarthy as the Phantom and Sarah Ryan as the heroine Christine.

Special praise must be given to Sarah Ryan playing Christine, the former BBC Choir Girl of the Year's ability to produce seriously uplifting sweet music was proved.

McCarthy's Phantom was a passionate and tragic figure but it would have be nice to see the tortured soul sent up in a big way.

The quick, slick set changes produced a gourmet feast for the eyes with a haunting lair for our phantom and a pyrotechnic display within the bowels of the opera house, allowing the audience to watch cast members slowly burn.

Audience involvement was heightened when the search for the kidnapped Christine leads the cast to search through the packed audience to find some sign of her whereabouts.

The week-long performances begin at 7.45pm with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets priced from 12.50 - 19.50.

Tickets are available at Fairfield Box Office on 020 8688 9291