Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera has become a worldwide phenomenon since its unveiling more than 25 years ago.

Now a new phenomenon has emerged in its wake: Three Phantoms, a gala evening of songs, anecdotes and backstage insights that celebrate not only the familiar Lloyd-Webber score but also other versions of this famous ghostly tale.

Songs from other popular musicals — including Les Misérables, West Side Story and Kiss Me Kate — also feature.

A trio of former West End phantoms — Earl Carpenter, Stephen John Davis and Matthew Cammelle — are the stars, alongside Rebecca Caine, who played Christine with the original West End cast.

It was Earl who conceived the idea for the show two years ago. “I started it in a little theatre near my home on the Isle of Wight,” he says. “That sold out, so I then made it bigger and added dancers and an orchestra. We toured it around the UK, and all of a sudden had a very successful product.

“What we do is a show within a show, so we do a little encyclopaedia of all the other versions of The Phantom of the Opera, and then conclude the evening with Andrew’s version.”

For Earl, the success of Three Phantoms depends as much on the humour and interaction with the audience as it does on the music. “That relationship between us and the audience is important. The way I structured the evening it relies on that reaction from the audience.

“You have to create something where the audiences leave feeling they have been entertained and we certainly do that, especially when things go wrong! It really is good old-school variety kind of entertainment.”

Stephen agrees: “It’s very nice working with people you’re familiar with, and the kind of fun we will have backstage we will bring on to the stage, which is great. Hopefully that will permeate through to the audience and they’ll enjoy it as much as we will.”

Stephen has played almost every role in The Phantom of the Opera over the years, and has fond memories of his time with the show.

“It certainly leaves an impression. “You never leave Phantom — you can always go back and there’ll always be someone there that you know. I’d still love to go back. You go away for a year or so and you miss it!”

Both Earl and Stephen were involved in the special 25th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall, where they played the Auctioneer and Don Attilio respectively.

“It was a fantastic experience, just the atmosphere and performing in front of 1,000 people who were loving every second of it,” Stephen recalls. “It was a great reunion with people I’d worked with over the years, and the camaraderie was brilliant.”

For Stephen, the Three Phantoms tour includes the rare treat of performing in his home town of High Wycombe. “It’s going to be great to do the show and be home in ten minutes!” he laughs. “And of course Oxford’s only up the road as well, so that’ll be nice. It’s a great evening of musical theatre squeezed into a couple of hours. Everyone should enjoy it — people from ages eight to 80 should love it.”

New Theatre, Oxford
Next Thursday, 7.30pm
Tickets: call 0844 871 3020
or visit