Billed as the world's greatest love story, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera has been setting audience's hearts aflutter in South Africa recently.
And there were plenty of UCT names among both cast and orchestra of the Cape Town and Johannesburg productions. Christine, the woman at the centre of the tussle between love-rivals Phantom and two UCT students, Robin Botha and Magdalene Minnaar. Anthony Downing plays Raoul. And Hanlee Louw and Kurt Haupt play important supporting characters Carlotta and Monsieur Reyer, respectively.
The Cape Town orchestra - for the staging at the Artscape Theatre Centre - was also packed with no fewer than 15 UCT alumni, staff members (current and former) and students.
The Christines and Downing have been roundly applauded for their performances in the Cape Town leg of the show. As Cape Times reviewer Astrid Stark said, "Christine and Raoul's very popular All I Ask of You had the tears flowing."
Star Tonight reserves special praise for Botha and Downing. "Botha is endearing as Christine, managing to bring out the vulnerability of the character without turning her into a flaky, whiny bore. So, too, you root for Downing, who provides just enough backbone for Raoul to create a hero without overshadowing Christine."
The Phantom of the Opera runs at the Teatro at Montecasino until 25 March.
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