I already took a couple of shots early last year at what was then just the prospect of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera sequel, Love Never Dies, so I'm not terribly surprised by the early reviews of the show's previews in London in the New York Times and The Times Online (London Times).
movie blog tentatively titled "The Trouble with Sequels," but I've not posted it yet. Essentially, I will explore in a little greater depth the basic problem inherent in creating a sequel. That is that, in order to do so, one must significantly alter some or all of the characters that are to carry over from the previous story, and you must essentially stomp all over the happy, sad, or even mildly ambiguous ending that audiences originally enjoyed and discussed on the bus ride home, at the watercooler the next day, and on internet fan pages for years to follow.
Often this can be avoided if the sequels were intended all along (for example, the Harry Potter books) or lessened somewhat if the sequel follows closely on the heels of the original (though I have difficulty in recalling a successful example of this). However, Love Never Dies fits neither of these categories and appears to be guilty of all of the offenses mentioned in the paragraph above.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! (Though really they were more than a little spoiled before I got them.)
Meg and Madame Giry as villains? A kinder, gentler Phantom who apparently fathered Christine's son ten years before? A drunken and boorish Raoul? Coney-freaking-Island?
I'm not impressed by what I've read, by what I've seen, or by what I've heard in regards to this show, and, as a fan of Gaston Leroux's novel and to-a-lesser-degree of the original Webber show, I find the whole thing just. . . offensive.
If there is any justice, this show will go the way of Bring Back Birdie, the short-lived and poorly-received sequel to Bye, Bye Birdie, and become little more than a largely unknown musical theatre anecdote.
There is much better work out there for the likes of Sierra Boggess, in my opinion.
Wait. Was she chewing gum in that video?