Sydney Morning Herald
Jan 13, 2012
Link to actual article
Love Never Dies. Curtains Never Opens
Sydney has a jinx on Andrew Lloyd Webber. After a bomb scare spoiled the opening night of Cats more than two decades ago, last night a dodgy curtain and lighting plagued the premiere of his blockbuster musical Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.
Early in the first half of Love Never Dies, at the Capitol Theatre in Haymarket, an ornate curtain caught in its winches and became stuck above the stage. An actor tugged on it but, when the curtain refused to budge, the cast carried on as if nothing was wrong.
Director Simon Phillips said his immediate thought was: "We're screwed."
He said: "My heart went into my mouth.
"We're sitting there going, 'This curtain's worked like a dream for six months and chooses to do this on the opening night in Sydney.'"
After the interval, Phillips came out on stage and apologised to the audience.
He said: "It's clear the Phantom's come to visit us, and because we don't have a giant chandelier he's decided to f--- with our curtain."
For the rest of the show, the audience watched black-clothed stagehands scurrying around the stage during every set change.
Their presence was not as distracting as the lighting problems that became apparent in the second half. The lights in lead character Christine's Coney Island dressing room flickered persistently as she was torn between the two men who loved her.
Publicist for the show Suzie Howie said that last night revived painful memories. She was also the publicist in 1985 when the bomb scare hit the Sydney premiere of Cats at the Theatre Royal.
"[During the bomb scare] the cast had to go into the shopping centre with those fluorescent lights and all their make-up was running. We were there for like an hour with nowhere to take people," she said.
Last night's technical hitches did not deter the audience - largely of family and industry friends - which gave the performance a standing ovation.
Love Never Dies
Love Never Dies is set to run at the Capitol Theatre until April, after a season in Melbourne last year.
The musical premiered in London's West End in early 2010 but after it was slated by critics, underwent substantial rewrites and then closed.
It was a disappointingly short run, especially as Phantom has played in the West End non-stop since its debut in 1986 and is also the longest-running show on Broadway.
While the show did receive some positive reviews, many critics derided it as torpid, flimsy and predictable.
Frustrated theatregoers established a Facebook protest group called Love Should Die and the show became widely ridiculed as Paint Never Dries in the London press.
Lloyd Webber originally intended the show to run simultaneously in London and New York, but the Broadway season has been postponed indefinitely.