SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber has shrugged off a slew of negative reviews after he unveiled his much-anticipated sequel to THE Phantom Of The Opera this week (beg08Mar10).
The theatre mogul finally showed Love Never Dies to the press in London on Tuesday night (09Mar10) after previews were pushed back last month (Feb10) to allow the cast and crew more rehearsal time.
But the show received disappointing reviews from critics in Britain, with The Times' Benedict Nightingale calling the the plot "dismally implausible" and insisting the production lacks "the menace, the horror, the psychological darkness" of its predecessor.
The Guardian's Michael Billington claims the musical "lacks... narrative tension" and Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail writes, "(It is) too much an also-ran to the prequel, and its opening is too stodgy."
But Lloyd Webber insists he's not worried about the critics' response - because The Phantom Of The Opera opened to disappointing reviews in 1986 and went on to gross more than $5 billion worldwide.
He says, "I've been in this business for over 40 years - 43 to be precise - I've never had a show which has been successful that hasn't had quite negative reviews.
"I'm not really sure how much reviews matter. Maybe they do for a small production, where it depends on getting people there. But there have been shows with rave reviews which nobody watches and come off after six months.
"You know when an audience is beginning to really respond. The last six shows we've had, we've had total standing ovations. That might not mean anything and if we get terrible reviews, everyone may go dead on the piece. But we've got such good performers out there, I couldn't ask for anyone better."