Tag Archives: andrew lloyd webber

The Phantom of the Opera is Here My Life 23 DEC 2011

So apart from the awesome Annique massage/pamper voucher I got for Chantelle for her 31st birthday earlier this month, the big event was of course our trip through to the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town on Saturday the 3rd of December, to attend the Phantom of the Opera, presented by Pieter Toerien and The Really Useful Group.

This was the first time Chantelle was going to see the Phantom being performed, and needless to say, she was pretty damn excited!

Joining us on the evening was her folks Cheryl and Monty, and after dropping Jessie off with my folks for the night, the four of us drove off to Cape Town for a VERY early supper, before heading out to the theatre a little later.

Chantelle had picked out the supper venue earlier in the week, settling on the very trendy Headquarters (HQ) restaurant in Heritage Square, Shortmarket street. The restaurant is situated in a stunning old building, with its interior being a combination of the trendy New York style dining and polished industrial look. The menu is pretty simple – They only offer a single sauce steak and chips as a main, with a leafy green salad as a starter, nothing more, nothing less. There is a simple dessert menu to follow up of course, but that is it. As a result, they specialize in their steaks and as such, this probably was one of the best pieces of steak I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring.

(Apparently the green salad was pretty good too, but that’s the opinion of the rest of the lot – I didn’t really find it all that spectacular.)

Because we ate so early, the restaurant was empty save for us (hell, even the live entertainment gave up after one song), so I can’t really comment on the ambience, but naturally the service was good and of course the party trick of having bottomless chips on your plate was pretty fun to play with.

According to Claire, HQ is currently one of the more popular spots in Cape Town, so Chantelle certainly chose well, though that said, be warned that they are pretty pricey. For the four of us the bill came up just short of a R1,000, obviously much, much more than what we Northern Suburbs dwellers are normally accustomed to paying for a meal out! And it must be said that I won’t necessarily go back either, not because of the price, but rather because of the fact that they are a one-trick pony. You really, really have to like their version of steak and chips, because you’re not going to be getting anything else there. Personally I think they should offer a wider variety of sauces with their steak (you know, instead of only ONE), but hey, this business model is obviously working for them, so who am I to complain?

Anyway, apart from the price we really did enjoy the dining out experience, and left pretty satisfied, so thumbs up to them.

After a roundabout drive to the theatre, we arrived to a quickly filling up parking lot, and after a quick cup of coffee, we moved into our seats which were pretty much in the middle of the theatre. In the end these were actually the perfect seats, because we got the best view of both the actors and the magnificent set pieces, which themselves are worth the admission price alone!

With Andre Schwartz unfortunately sidelined through a throat infection, the lead role of the Phantom had to be filled by one Jonathan Roxmouth (who was meant to be playing the role of Raul), a performer we’ve seen (and enjoyed) on stage before, like when he played the lead in Grease back in 2010.

As it turned out, the entire cast were absolutely fantastic in their roles and combined with the fantastic set pieces, effects, scenery and sequences, the Phantom of the Opera was as delightful as ever to take in. The Montgomery clan enjoyed it, I enjoyed it and in the end it was a great night out and a worthy watch for Chantelle who can now say that she has seen the Phantom of the Opera live and uncut! :)

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats… at the Artscape My Life | My Reviews 13 JAN 2010

I’m not a great theatre lover, I’ll easily admit to that, but I do agree that there are some theatre productions and musicals that one simply has to see during their lifetime, as simple as that. And having already seen Phantom and the Opera when it was brought to the Artscape a couple of years ago, it was no surprise to find myself being dragged through to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats last Thursday evening in the company of my dearest wife and the rest of the Montgomery horde! :P

Despite being nearly at the end of its run, the play was proving to be as popular as ever and on entry we discovered that there was literally not an empty seat in the house – row upon row of people packed the auditorium as we settled back to enjoy the show. The stage had been transformed into a wondrous junkyard full of oversized junk featuring everyday items like tennis raquets and discarded tins, with dart holes and little dank corridors permeating every nook and cranny. Dotted in amongst this plethora of rubbish was a veritable forest of lighting and special effects gadgets in place, as come the actual show, you as the viewer were to be bombarded by a constant stream of excellent lighting and special effects trickery!

Now as for the musical itself, you must understand that I found it rather nonsensical and quite pointless at that, trying to weave in a whole lot of pointless information and attempting to tie it all up as a story – but then I guess you didn’t really come to this particular production for that now did you? As for the musical numbers, while most are rather forgettable and certainly don’t rank amongst Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best, you would be silly not to recognise one of his greatest compositions that does indeed worm its way into this particular play – and that is the sensational “Memories” of course, performed more than ably in this particular production it must be said.

Actually, on that note, all the musical numbers throughout the musical (apart from the one or two performed by that Brit with the screechy, high-pitched voice) were particularly well executed, though I must just make one small gripe (still ignoring that woman), this one being directed at the black operatic singer cast as the old Deuteronomy. Unfortunately his accent was so overbearing it was difficult to make out what he was singing about, leading to a horrible break in the story as you simply couldn’t follow what he was trying to tell you! So in other words, not cool at all.

As for the dancing however, man was the cast ever so spectacular. With twists, twirls, lifts and tumbles, the cast put in a stellar acrobatic performance that captured the lively energy of Cats to perfection and kept the audiences’ eyes glued firmly to the stage – all of which combined with some excellent musical performances, production values and special effects to make for a particularly smooth, polished and professional production.

Oh, and don’t forget the fantastic, if a little outlandish costumes and make-up that adorned each “cat”. Absolutely fantastic work done in that department, believe you me!

The show was a long one, breaking once about halfway in at the hour and a half mark, and as is the custom, some of the cats came to play in amongst the crowd, providing plenty of laughs and more than a couple of startles as well! :)

Overall though, I must say outside of the high production value of this yet again quality Pieter Toerien presentation, Cats left me feeling… well a little disappointed. Yes, it was excellent in every aspect of its presentation and acting, but the play is pretty meh as far as I am concerned. It’s whimsical and doesn’t really go anywhere, hurries to a conclusion and is quite frankly, quickly forgotten. (But I guess I’m in the minority on this one, seeing as it is one of the longest running plays across the world, so I’ll just shake my head and accept that I suppose.)

Still, at least I can now say that I have seen it in my lifetime – and hopefully now will never have to cross paths with it ever again! :P