light shifter

Riverview High School Phantom

@rjdaae here’s my review for any interested :)

So yesterday night I saw my first high school production of phantom of the opera. The cast and crew did a spectacular job! Particularly wonderful was the scenery and lighting, the scene shifters did great work.

The cast was much more vocally talented than I would have expected with a high school production. Christine and Carlotta being the standouts for female vocalists and the Phantom and Piangi for males.

I’m not used to writing reviews, so here’s a collection of thoughts in no particular order:

1. The actress playing Christine was extremely short and petite in stature and the actor playing the phantom was very tall with broad shoulders and a large build, so the difference in size was pretty funny. The point of no return sequence ended with the phantom literally picking Christine up and just tossing her over his shoulder and the audience, myself included, found it pretty hilarious.

2. During the title song when Christine and the phantom are walkimg/boating to the lair, the scene shifters are wearing gargoyle masks. The scenery was very clever, consisted of 5 very large boards painted to look like stone and moving back and forth and over to create the illusion the characters were winding their way through a labyrinth and was very well done. I’m not sure why the scene shifters were gargoyles though, Christine visibly reacts to them and is clearly frightened.

3. Masquerade was superbly choreographed but couldn’t help but be distracted by the fact that some of the cast was wearing 1980s style party dresses. All in all the costuming was great though, I have no complaints about the variety of costume and besides this scene, was mostly period appropriate. Oh and during masquerade Raoul was dresses in his orchestra/marching band outfit. Christine wore a white dress and Angel wings. The phantom had his white half mask and a red coat, in a circus ringleader style.

4. The true scene stealers were Carlotta and Piangi. No complaints whatsoever about either actor, costuming, make up vocals and acting were all out of this world. If I had to pick a standout from the whole show most definitely them. She had the audience cracking up with the way she performed the “these things do ‘appen?!?!” Scene. Piangi can be a throwaway character in some performances but this actor went above and beyond.

5. At the end of masquerade the cast made an odd blocking choice. The phantom entered wearing a particularly hideous hat. I don’t know hat types but it was like a bowler hat but…..worse is the best way I can think to describe it. Instead of giving the management his score for don Juan triumphant he takes off his hat and throws it the managers like a frisbee. Is the score in the hat? Are instructions for locating the score in the hat? No idea. Maybe he wanted to get rid of the hat.

6. Makeup for the phantom was very subtle. I saw it pretty up close from where I was sitting and whoever did it did a great job, but it was likely difficult to see anything from further back. For a high school production though it was good, the effort was clearly there. Apparently the mask was custom made and looked great. Excellent job on that.

7. Another odd blocking choice in the final lair scene. At the very end, after the phantom says “make your choice” Christine immediately runs to Raoul and begins fussing over/hugging him. She then sings “pitiful creature of darkness/what kind of life have you known” to Raoul, with her back to the audience, while the phantom picks up the pages of his score she had previously thrown to the ground on the other side of the stage. Only towards the very end of her lines does she turn towards the phantom, then walks over and kisses him. I just thought that was an odd choice because it made the kids seem more like an afterthought than being genuinely moved to compassion.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head! Let me know if anyone has any specific questions and I’ll happily answer! All in all it was a great show and I really enjoyed it. I might be seeing it again next week.