Phantom of the Academy a thrilling spectacle

Members of the cast of the Lytham Academy of Theatre Arts prepare for their production of the Phanton of the Opera at Lowther Pavilion

Members of the cast of the Lytham Academy of Theatre Arts prepare for their production of the Phanton of the Opera at Lowther Pavilion

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A packed house for the opening night of Lytham Academy of Theatre Arts’ Phantom bore eloquent testimony to the group’s deserved reputation and to the theatricality of the show.

Director Lynda Clarkson, at the helm of every show since LATA was launched in 1994, is superbly supported in this most technically demanding production by her backstage team and by Sean Ashmore’s orchestra, and Masquerade is a glorious riot of colour.

Laurienne Imeson as Christine and Teri Murkin as prima donna Carlotta excel right through demanding vocal roles.

Graeme Smith’s Phantom perhaps needs a bit more creepiness in the first half but, unmasked at the last, he cuts a tragic figure in the finale.

There’s strong work too from Grady Rawlinson as Raoul and from Ben David, Tom Blackburn and Matthew McGivern.

In some places the acting took second place to the singing, but the audience was silent and spellbound, lapping up the chance to see some of Lancashire’s finest young talent finally on stage after months of hard work.

The cast must have been delighted by the rousing ovation they received and proud, too, to be part of 20 years of first-class youth theatre.

Julian Wilde