Les Miserables

One of the best shows I have ever seen in my whole entire life. You walk into the Queen’s Theatre in London and you think “it’s an ok set, doesn’t look like anything special”. And then BOOM.

The lights go down, the music starts to roar, the set starts to rotate, and the actors come on stage. What a feat. The set design for Les Miserable is fantastic. You see the props move in and around on stage between scenes and it looks so effortless.

The music is spectacular: so moving, it can grab your heartstrings *clicks fingers* like that, and then up the tempo for some lively comedic fun.

The actors are great, but what’s even more amazing is their voices. Alfie Boe plays protagonist Jean Valjean and his voice is so strong and echoing. The audience can really sympathise with this character: you want him to triumph, you want him to succeed, and you want him to stay alive. The musical is about Jean Valjean.

 

Two of my favourite characters were the comedic couple Thenardier and his wife; their songs were the most upbeat, funniest, and oftentimes the rudest. At one point in Les Miserables’ run, Matt Lucas played Thenardier, but when I went it was the hilarious Cameron Blakely who played him.

Another actress that really caught my eyes and ears was Alexia Khadime who plays Eponine, who has a remarkable soulful voice, just a delight to watch and hear.

I hadn’t read the book so I didn’t really know what to expect, so be warned: there are a lot of deaths. A lot. I heard a lot of sniffles and saw a fair few hankies – I, myself, was tearing up beyond anything. The combination of the tragic lives, the heartfelt music, the subtle lighting, and the great actors is just a recipe for tears.

The musical spans over a fair few decades following the life of Jean Valjean, a former convict who was jailed for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister and dying child. Fast forward some years and he assumes a new identity and new life and finds himself the guardian of orphaned Cosette. Fast forward a few more years and the musical continues the life of Valjean and Cosette during one of the many Revolutions in France.

The original book by Victor Hugo is very long, and of course the musical cannot include everything, so some parts did seem quite jumpy. Even though not everything was included, it is still a very long musical, but definitely worth the pins and needles. Yes, the price is quite steep, but for a show this magnificent it’s a bargain. Check out the official site here for more information and tickets:  http://www.lesmis.com/home_uk.php

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