Oh my. As a guy who all-but worshipped Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera in high school, I have to say that the idea of a follow-up musical to that unprecedented worldwide hit sounds about as appealing as a sequel my other favorite musical from my teenage years, Brain De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise. In fact, I would have much rather watched a continuation to De Palma's 1974 cult classic as opposed to having the overwhelming urge to repeatedly insert various pointed objects into my aural and visual organs by bearing witness to the god-awful tragedy that is Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies — his 2010 massacring of his previous 1986 triumph.
Most of the continuity between the two musicals is nonexistent. Webber himself has stated that Love Never Dies is a standalone piece, set in its own universe, to wit we must infer any dissimilarities are intentional. I, however, am of the opinion that Andrew Lloyd Webber was drunk off his little troll heinder when he sat down to scribble out the storyline for this one; I am also convinced he phoned it in when it came time to composing the musical's numbers. If I were to use one word to describe the tunes here, I would pick "appalling." Possibly even "atrocious." But more on that later — let's talk about how terrible the story itself is first.
With a title ripped directly from the advertising campaign of Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, this filmed performance of Love Never Dies (as enacted at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, Australia) tells us the continuing story of Christine Daaé (Anna O'Byrne) — the naïve young protagonist of the original Phantom who is now the naïve mother of one with a rocky marriage to Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny (Simon Gleeson), who has descended into gambling and alcohol since their escape from the clutches of The Phantom in the previous outing. Speaking of Le Fantôme, Ben Lewis assumes the role of the masked madman here, who has somehow found his way to Coney Island, where he has opened a musical extravaganza entitled "Phantasma" (ha-ha, funny).