With productions of Cabaret and The Lion King both competing for Edinburgh audiences’ attention tonight, Three Phantoms‘ enjoyable and light-hearted journey through some of the West End’s greatest musical hits must be cursing its timing a little.
However, there are certainly no such issues with the performance itself. Matthew Cammelle, Stephen John Davis and Glyn Kerslake have all played the title role in past productions of Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. Here, the trio not only reprise some of the magic of that show, but also demonstrate the range of their voices and repertoires by including songs from musicals such as Guys & Dolls, Miss Saigon, Ghost — and even the hot-on-the-stage Book Of Mormon.
Each vocalist has their own distinctive style. Kerslake’s range is broad and impressive, whilst John Davis’s projection more than fills the auditorium. Cammelle’s voice is a little softer, fully coming into its own in some of the more emotional numbers on the bill.
The three phantoms are joined at various points throughout by Mandy Watson Dunstall, Annette Yeo and Rebecca Caine. Like their male counterparts, their voices are distinctive and add colour, depth and emotion to the songs they contribute to. Caine’s faultless soprano is particularly impressive, though Watsham Dunstall’s operatic tones also send shivers throughout the audience. In a gentle running gag which is the closest thing to a storyline in the show, impressively diverse singer Alistair Barron also assists (and in one or two numbers, stands out) — though the phantoms are humourously keen to take pains to deny his presence.
Cellist Jess Cox and pianist and musical director Anthony Gabriele sit in the centre of a spare yet striking set, around which the vocalists perform. Les Miserables is singled out for special treatment at the end of the first half, with a slice of greatest hits from the inimitable musical. An a capella version of I Dreamed A Dream is a particular highlight, with all seven singers contributing to an emotionally powerful performance.
Unsurprisingly, The Phantom Of The Opera receives the same treatment in the second half, though it includes a selection from more than just Lloyd Webber’s famous version, keeping the segment fresh and interesting. And the finale, when the three leading men serenade The Music Of The Night is a spine-tingling treat.
There is little to fault about The Three Phantoms, performed with consummate professionalism and gusto by its appealing cast. Some of the songs shine brighter than others, but as a whole, the music of this particular night is easy to recommend to any fan of the great stage musicals.
Three Phantoms is at Edinburgh Festival Theatre until Sat 26 October. More information is available here.