When I went to see Phantom of the Opera it was because, you know The Phantom of the Opera and when a Travelzoo offer landed in my inbox it seemed rude not to.
My boyfriend had been advised that it would be cheesy. However, if you’re going to kidnap a girl, carry her off to your kooky underground lair, and sing at her in the belief that this will make her fancy you then cheese is a necessity.
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We were not disappointed. It was so very, very cheesy, and the Phantom was overdramatic to the point where I did want to tell him to get over it. Christine loves Raoul, ok? And there’s nothing more unattractive than a clingy guy, even if you are rocking the evening dress.
And Christine turned out to be very cool for a girl in a ruffled white night dress. Although the fact that everyone was singing over the top of each other at the climax meant that I’m still not exactly sure how she managed to rescue her man and win her way to freedom. It still felt very emotive though and the tune was catchy.
And it’s still lodged in my head.
The star was Raoul though. He really looked like he was enjoying himself. Even when the noose was round his neck, he was clearly having the best time.
On the train on the way home I did annotate my programme (because, yes, I am one bad day in the office away from building my own underground lair) and as it turns out both Raoul and Christine were played by the understudies.
Inside my mind, I like to imagine that was the reason they were all having such a good time. This was a rare chance for them to do something they loved, so they went for it and their pleasure was infectious.
And that’s what cheese (and life) should have more of. Still not convinced? Here are some life lessons I’ve learned fresh from the West End.
- All you need is love.
*Rolls eyes* ok, it’s not all you need, but it sure can help. It makes people feel good, and it is a strong motivating force. Even if all it motives on a daily basis is your partner taking the rubbish out because it’s cold outside. It may not be worth singing about, but still something I’m going to actively appreciate more.
2. Baby, ain’t I good to you?
My friend once bought a book that assured the reader that it would have a happy ending. I, currently up to my eyeballs in Grimdark, snorted. My friend took me to task because she’d had a really bad day, her husband was out with his mates and all she wanted was to curl up and give herself the equivalent of an emotional hug. That sounded like a plan to me. A regular nibble of cheese can make you feel good. It’s safe, tasty and used sparingly can nourish the soul. I’m going to stop apologising for my own secret stash of Regency Romances.
3. I am what I am
The best cheese is shameless. It knows what it is and will deliver with wry good humour and unashamed fun (just like Understudy Raoul). It’s a strange kind of authenticity in a medium that is bent on manipulating you into feeling every time the music swells, but hey, you knew what you were signing up for, right? And cheese doesn’t care what you think, it just wants to live happily ever after. More of that, please.