Phantom sequel a "shadow of the original"
By Mike Collett-White and Nickie Omer
LONDON (Reuters) - Comparisons with the original were inevitable when Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to write a sequel to his record-breaking musical "Phantom of the Opera."
After Tuesday night's world premiere at the Adelphi Theater in London's West End, the consensus among critics was that "Love Never Dies" was a mere shadow of the show seen by more than 100 million people around the world since 1986.
The new musical continues the story of The Phantom, who has left his lair at the Paris Opera House and, 10 years later, is haunting the fairgrounds of New York's Coney Island.
Not all reviews were bad, but several prominent critics savaged the sequel, including the New York Times' Ben Brantley who called it a "poor sap of a show (which) feels as eager to be walloped as a clown in a carnival dunking booth."
Brantley was not alone in questioning the storyline, which reviewers said was implausible and confusing.
Four people are credited with the book -- Lloyd Webber himself, theatrical writer Glenn Slater, novelist Frederick Forsyth and comedian Ben Elton.
"If you don't know the first Phantom, you will be very confused; if you do know the first Phantom, you will also be very confused," wrote Brantley.
Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail was less dismissive of Love Never Dies, but concluded: Continued...