A night at the opera in Kirkcaldy

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It’s one of the world’s best known and most successful musical theatre productions.

And since its first performance on the West End stage in 1986 it has wowed audiences across the globe.

The Phantom of the Opera youth production by Youth Music Theatre Scotland.  Pic by Fife Photo Agency

The Phantom of the Opera youth production by Youth Music Theatre Scotland. Pic by Fife Photo Agency

But now, for the second year running ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ comes to the Kirkcaldy stage - thanks to the hard work and talents of a young Fife cast.

Last July young people from Youth Music Theatre Scotland took on the challenging task of performing the hit musical with a two week intense rehearsal period.

The four shows impressed the packed audiences and saw the young performers receive standing ovations.

That run of shows was the very first youth production of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical in Scotland.

Katherine Skene and Robert Forrest appear in the youth production of The Phantom of the Opera by Youth Music Theatre Scotland.  Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

Katherine Skene and Robert Forrest appear in the youth production of The Phantom of the Opera by Youth Music Theatre Scotland. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

This week thanks to popular demand - and the kind permission of the Really Useful Group - the cast are back on the stage telling the story of the mysterious figure lurking below the Paris Opera House.

And while the cast, who are all under the age of 21, were rehearsing on the Adam Smith Theatre stage this week ahead of tonight’s (Thursday) opening show the Press stopped by to see how the rehearsals were going.

Sarah Cooper (18), from Kirkcaldy is a principal dancer in the show.

She said: “It’s a really good show to revisit and to keep adding to it.

“There’s so much depth that we didn’t have the chance to go into last year.”

Morgan Wilcox (18), who will play Madame Giry for Saturday’s shows, added: “We’re focussing on putting more detail in to it and developing our characters more.”

Both young ladies started dancing with the Gail Neish Dance Studios at a young age and are preparing to start their careers at London dance schools in September.

Morgan added: “The rehearsals are very intense and it’s a long day everyday, but it’s fun.”

Both Morgan and Sarah said that everything from last year’s production remains within the show, but this time it’s “10 times bigger”.

Sarah added: “Hopefully anyone who has seen it before will see a difference.”

Speaking to the cast it’s clear to see the strong friendship between them and the excitement for opening night is obvious.

Morgan told the Press: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s always different when there’s an audience watching you.”

“It feels more real,” added Sarah.

For those that don’t know the story, the masked figure lurking below the Paris Opera House falls madly in love with an innocent soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her talents and employing all of the devious methods at his command.

The show has a sensational score including tracks like ‘Think of Me’, ‘Music of the Night’, ‘Masquerade’ and the title song.

A number of cast members are returning from last year’s production, although there are a few new faces among the company.

The leading roles, Phantom and Christine, are played once again by Robert Forrest and Katherine Skene.

Robert (20), said the intention is to make this year’s production bigger and better than last time round.

He explained: “We’ve had an extra two weeks to reform and improve on last year’s work, which is always a lovely luxury to get the chance to do much more and put more depth into the performance.”

He said that the company had a fantastic response to the performances in 2013 and that was part of the reason for the return of ‘Phantom’ this year.

When asked about performing alongside Katherine again, Robert said: “It’s always a pleasure working with Katherine. We know each other very well and she’s a very reliable partner to work with on stage and a great talent.”

And taking a break from rehearsals Katherine Skene said: “When I found out we were doing it again I was really happy. It’s so strange being back and doing it again, but it’s exciting.”

Hannah Wilson (20), Madame Giry, said: “You don’t think you’re going to get another opportunity to do the show, so it’s great to have that chance. It’s still just as challenging as last time.”

Emma McFarlane (18), who takes on the role of Meg in a number of the performances, added: “There’s a lot of pressure because we got such a good response last year we need to up the game.”

Those behind the scenes have been working the young cast hard to ensure that the production comes together and the cast have also had the chance to do character studies which they didn’t do last time round.

For Alexandra Shields, who plays Meg on Saturday, this is the first time she’s performed the show.

“I came in to it feeling pressure as it’s nothing like I’ve ever gone through before,” she said.

“It’s an intense process.”

Katherine added: “We’re really lucky to have such an amazing cast.

“Everyone is really strong and we’re so lucky to have that. We all work so well together.”

The Phantom of the Opera comes to the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy from tonight (Thursday) until Sunday.