Posted by Shona
Last week I was given the opportunity to head down to London to see Les Misérables at the Queen‘s Theatre. I hadn’t seen many theatre productions before so I wasn’t sure what to expect and even though I was looking forward to the show I was concerned Les Misérables might be a bit too, well, miserable. But it turns out I shouldn’t have worried.
Les Mis has now been running for nearly 27 years and has been seen by 54 million people around the world, which should have been my first clue that I was on to a winner. The musical tells the tale of Jean Valjean, a man who was unfairly imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. He turns his life around and becomes a respected member of society after being released from prison on parole, but he is haunted by his troubled past which constantly threatens to catch up with him.
I was blown away by the cast of Les Mis. Each and every one of them has talent in abundance and excelled throughout, not to mention how well they coped with performing on a stage which was revolving 90% of the time, how they weren’t dizzy is beyond me. Geronimo Rauch gave a powerful performance as Jean Valjean and the angelic Samantha Dorsey who played Cosette had the voice of an angel which captivated everybody.
‘I Dreamed a Dream’ has never been one of my favourite songs, I might even say it’s one of my pet hates, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. Sierra Boggess gave such an emotional performance I was won over. The rest of the score was just as strong and performed with emotion, strength and power that had everyone applauding.
The thing that impressed me most about Les Mis was the storyline. Even though it was heavy going at times I liked how it brought so many different themes together including elements of humanity and perseverance in the face of adversity. The second half really pulled on my heart strings since it saw the arrival of the French Revolution, which brought some very poignant and emotional moments with it. I appreciated the touches of humour which helped to balance out the emotional storyline. Thenadier (Cameron Blakey) and Madame Thenadier (Linzi Hateley) provided the gags and tomfoolery. They’re the bumbling villains of the piece who get by by stealing, conning and blackmailing, and their inappropriate behaviour provided plenty of light relief. The only negative I have about Les Mis’s storyline is that it could be quite difficult to follow since it was performed entirely in song. I was confused as to why Inspector Javert was pursuing Jean Valjean even though he had set him free from prison; I didn’t think it was made very clear that he had broken his parole conditions. Concentration is definitely required.
For my next trip to the theatre, I would probably opt for something more upbeat, but I still can’t deny Les Misérables‘ brilliance. The show boasted top class performances, a brilliant score and a fascinating insight into the impact the French Revolution had on society. I would recommend booking your theatre break tickets now for a captivating performance you can laugh, cry and sing along to.