Friday, 10 May 2013

Three Phantoms in Three Days!

My friend, Sabine, suggested this theme when she summarised our Phantom trip at the beginning of May.  

Day One  (2nd May 2013)

Me, Vicky, Lizzie and Claudia at Piccadilly Circus, London

The trip began when I was on my way down to London on the 08.15 train from Leeds.  I thought this was an early start until I recently booked rail tickets for another London trip in June!  After meeting up with Sabine and Leni and dropped our luggage at our hotel, I met up with my dear friend, Lizzie, and her two friends, Claudia (she was with her Mum) and Vicky,  We managed to find a quiet sport for lunch and a catch up in one of Soho's back streets.

Having a spot of lunch, The Blue Posts, Soho, London

It was a fun lunch meeting and I had to leave them to continue the party when I made the short walk to the Apollo Theatre for the Olivier Award winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.  We had the full cast including Luke Treadway, an Olivier Award winner, as Christopher.  What an outstanding play!  I can relate personally to the themes around Autism and Aspergers Syndrome.  It was a very a very moving and positive and I think the play will do good to raise the awareness of Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  I liked how Simon Stephen's adaptation from the book were projected on stage and accompanied with amazing sets and lighting! I look forward to reading Mark Haddon's book which a friend is going to lend me.  I plan to see the play again in the summer or early autumn.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Apollo Theatre, London

I met up again with Lizzie and Vicky afterwards for dinner and ended up at the oldest Pizza Express restaurant in the country where it opened in on site in 1965.  The time came for Lizzie and I to see The Phantom of the Opera with the girls at Her Majesty's Theatre.  We had Marcus Lovett as Phantom and Ashleigh Flemming as Christine.  They were great together and I was specially impressed with Ashleigh in the role.  I also enjoyed seeing Nicola Rutherford again as Carlotta and the rest of this exceptional and amazing cast!  Afterwards it was great meeting up with Marcus and Ashleigh at Stage Door along with the other members of the cast who are so friendly and gracious.

Ashleigh Flemming (U/S Christine) and I
Marcus Lovett (Phantom) and I - An amazing Phantom and such a pleasant guy!
Lauren, Alison, Leni, Sabine and Sijle - Great Friends!

 Day 2 (3rd May 2013)

I was feeling a bit under the weather so I had a lazy day at my hotel.  Later on in the day I met up with the girls for dinner and another evening of Phantom.

It was very special seeing Phantom that evening! I was even more delighted to have learnt beforehand that Scott Davies was going to be Phantom!!! On this significant visit to the show!!! Also Anna O'Byrne as Christine and Lara Martins was back on as Carlotta!  It was one of my dream casts and so fitting for my 60th visit to the show! I felt some of my wishes came true in one evening!  Well the performance was one of the best I've ever seen on stage! Scotty is one of my favourite Phantoms and his portrayal continues to amazes me! He and Anna have this amazing chemistry on stage and this was especially reflected during 'The Phantom of the Opera', 'The Music of the Night' and during the Final Lair.  I was moved and left the theatre in absolute awe!  It was definitely my favourite Phantom performance of the trip!!!

My 60th Visit to Phantom!

The Cast for my special visit!
Me with Scotty (Scott Davies (Standby Phantom), a truly special phantom and performer!
Anna O'Byrne (Alt. Christine) and I
Me with Janet Fischer (Wild Woman (Hannibal) and U/S Carlotta)
Photo Credit: Sabine Lehr. Me with Lara Martins (Carlotta)
It was great seeing Scotty again at Stage Door afterwards and caught up again with some of the cast from last night! It was a great 60th visit to my favourite show and also thanks to Sabine, Lara and Janet for making it special as well!

Thank you Scotty for Phantom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It dawned upon me the following day that Scotty was the phantom on my 30th visit to the show in January 2011! He's truly special and played a big part of my Phantom journey since 1994! He was the highlight of this trip!

Day 3 (4th May 2013)

Birmingham Bound at London Euston Railway Station
Sabine and Stephen at Birmingham New Street Railway Station
Sabine and me at Birmingham New Street Railway Station

Sabine and I caught our Birmingham bound train from London Euston late morning.  On our arrival in Birmingham we met up with Stephen, a fellow Phan, for a catch up! Once we checked in our hotel and rested a bit we made our way to the Hippodrome for the final performance of the Phantom UK Tour via the Stage Door.  There we met up with some cast members and fellow friends, fans and acquaintances including Annie, Olivia and Kay. Then we met up with Jeanette and Cath for coffee and cake at the theatre's Deli Cafe Bar.

Sabine and Annie at Birmingham Hippodrome's Stage Door
Jeanette and Cath at Birmingham Hippodrome's Deli Cafe Bar
Cast Board for the final ever performance on the UK Phantom Tour
I knew it was going to be an emotional evening with the final ever performance of this amazing tour production.  It was my 20th and final time I would see this production and hope it will return on tour in the not too distant future.  North America are so lucky to receive it this autumn and I hope the audiences across the pond will love it as much as I have!  The cast gave it their awe and it was great to see and hear them once more! I've got to know some of the cast on and off stage over the past year and I wish them all the best in what they do next.  

Photo Credit: The Phantom of the Opera UK Tour.  Thanks all for Phantom!

I know I'll miss Earl Carpenter's portrayal of Phantom especially the emotive and moving scenes of 'The Phantom of the Opera' and 'The Music of the Night'.  I also never forget his emotive Final Lair.  The cast had a great send off at curtain call and I was so glad to be there in person.  The principals were thrown a bouquets of flowers each which was a very nice touch.

We said goodbye to most of the cast members at stage door.  They couldn't stop long as they were having well deserved after show drinks at the nearby bar.  In all it was epic although emotional.
Sabine and Kevin at Birmingham Hippodrome's Stage Door
Birmingham Hippodrome
Sabine and Cat at Birmingham Hippodrome's Stage Door
Me with Woody (Richard Woodford (U/S Phantom) and Sabine

Day 4 (3rd May 2013)

Birmingham Sights

Victoria Square
Centenary Square
Brindley Place
The Canal
Boulton, Watt and Murdoch Statue
 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The last day of the trip!  After seeing Sabine off at the railway station for the airport and her flight home I fought the anti climax feeling of the night before with exploration of Birmingham City Centre.  I began my explorations at Centenary Way, Centenary Square and onto the Canal.  There is mixed regeneration of old and new buildings around the city.  I ended up visiting their wonderful museum and art gallery.  I have been before before so I went to galleries I haven't yet visited including the new 'Birmingham it's people, it's history' exhibition.  Those galleries are amazing where I learnt and appreciated a lot of Birmingham's history and heritage.  I think the visit made me happy that I've given the city a 2nd chance and the bad experiences I've had on past visits are finally behind me!  The weather was wonderful throughout the trip and it was nice relaxing at Victoria Square before catching my train back to Leeds.

I'll soon do a separate blog on 'The Curious Incident...' and my overall thoughts of the Phantom UK Tour.  Signing off until next time and thank you for reading!

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