Sophie McCarlie as Christine and Seth Blackburn as Raoul. Photo: James Winch.

REVIEW: Phantom debuts at Theatre Royal


For the first time ever, the Phantom of the Opera is in Nelson – and it won’t disappoint.

The Nelson Youth Theatre company kicked off their two week run of the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical on Sunday night at a packed out Theatre Royal.

Directed by Richard Carruthers, it was dark, big, loud and misty – everything you could ask for in one of the world’s favourite love stories.

The musical tells the story of a masked figure who lives beneath the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls in love with a young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to nurturing her talents.

With a triple cast sharing the load, the audience was treated to the ‘Team Sophie’ rendition, with Sophie McCarlie playing a mesmerising Christine while Daniel de Clercq commanded as the Phantom.

Seth Blackburn (Raoul) and Rhiannon Griffiths (Carlotta) also played their roles with flair, and the rest of the local cast impressed with their singing and choreography amidst the murder and mayhem.

Phantom is not an easy production to stage, but the crew utilized the space well – nailing the floating candles, magical devices and a seamlessly travelling boat. Two portable royal boxes on either side of the theatre auditorium were constructed especially for the show.

And of course, there was the music – Angel of Music, Music of the Night, Think of Me, All I Ask of You and The Phantom of the Opera were all done justice – big ups to the musical directors Melanie Carruthers, Ewen Griffiths and Jane Bayley.

Despite being on a much smaller scale than any Broadway or West End version, it stood up to the challenge and Nelson is very lucky to have this kind of talent right on our doorstep.

This is another youth theatre production to be proud of. Make sure you don’t miss it.

The Phantom of the Opera continues at the Theatre Royal until April 21. Tickets are available from the theatre or TicketDirect.