Newest Review: ... round and round all evening. I did enjoy it and was glad I saw it, but think I was expecting more. Les Miserables is currently on at t... more
Magical, Musical Masterpeice!
Member Name: SweetTooth93
Advantages: Incredible music, wonderfully moving, tear jerking, laugh-provoking
Disadvantages: little kids wont enjoy
Ever since I was little, I have loved musicals. My dream was always to go to London and see hundreds of Musicals in the West End.
Last year I was lucky enough to travel to London and indulge myself in going too see some Musicals, among these were Wicked, Billy Elliot, Avenue Q, and the world famous Les Miserables!
Les Miserables or "Les Mis", is a world famous musical written by the famous novelist Victor Hugo. Set in the early nineteenth century, it follows the lives of various characters through the French Revolution. As with most musicals, the show includes conflict, love stories and love triangles, friendship among various other story lines.
==Jean Val Jean== could be said is the main character. Jean Val Jean is the man who joins the characters together and pulls the whole play into a fantastic and heart wrenching story.
The show starts when convict Jean Val Jean is released from prison however as he is a convict he must carry a yellow "ticket of leave" to make everywhere and everyone aware of who he is. After the Bishop finds Val Jean sleeping rough on the streets, he offers him a place of rest for the night. However Val Jean takes advantage of the situation and in the middle of the night steals the Bishops silverware and runs. He is caught, however the bishop decides to give him another chance and tells that the silverware was a gift to him. The bishop tells him however to make an honest man of himself, but just as Val Jean decides to take his advice, his theft is reported.
The story then jumps to six years later, when Val Jean has set up a life from himself. He is now a proud factory owner and has recently been appointed mayor of his town.
Soon into the play Val Jean meets Fantine, a dying woman who has been fired from his factory, and sadly turned to prostitution. Fantine has a daughter Cossette who is living with a nasty innkeeper Thenardier and his wife Madame Thenardier, who alrady have a daughter Eponine. It is then found out that Cosette is extremely neglected meanwhile Eponine is living the spoilt rotten life. Val Jean feels for Fantine and promises to her that when she dies he will take care of her daughter, Cossette.
Police inspecter Javert suspects Val Jeans identity, however when another man is put to prison being suspected as Val Jean, Javerts suspiscion is suspended. But not for long. Val Jean feeling guilty, then reveals his identity and is sent to prison instead. Val Jean then cleverly pretends to die, and makes and escape. He thento the inn and pays to "buy" Cossette. Cossette and Val Jean then escape to paris and begin their new lives in a convent.
The story is fast forwarded to ten years later, when Val Jean remains in Paris. They are leaving the convent, meanwhile students, the leader being Enjolras, are planning an anti-orleanist revolution the night before the Paris uprising. This shortly followed the death of General Lamparque, a french leader. Some of the poor also join the students and this is when the street urchin Gavroche is introduced. A twist in the tale is when student Marius falls in love with Cossette.
Two new characters are then introduced, Thenardier and his wife Madame. Thenardier, who have payed a gang of theives to rob Val Jeans house while Marius is there to visit Cossette.
The Thenardiers daughter Eponine who has also now grown up, has also fallen in love with Marius so convinces the theives to leave. Val Jean now fears that Javert is back on his case and plans to flee to London in a bid to escape.
The next day, the students arrive at the barricades ready for war. Marius joins his friends at the barricades, as he thinks his beloved Cosette has moved to London with her father and fears he will never see her again. Val Jean is surprised to hear that Marius is fighting for his daughter and so goes to join him. Eponine also arrives at the barricades, and jumps infront of the bullet to save Marius.
The fight lasts for a rather long time, and the atmostphere becomes very tense. Throughout the scene, Val Jean saves Javert from death. Marius remains only injured however all his friends, including Enholras and Gavroche are killed. Val Jean flees, carrying the injured Marius, however on his way to returning Marius to his family runs into Javert. Val Jean trys to persuad Javert to allow him to return Marius to his family before having it out with him. At this point Javert is confused and doesn't know whether to catch and report Val Jean, or let him free as he has shown true bravery, curtosy and trust towards his friends.
Javerts decision proves to hard for him, and he comitts suicide, throwing himself into the river.
After the barricades and the deaths, the show is given a light relief when Marius and Cosette are happily married, however the happiness is soon forgotten when Val Jean admits to Marius he is an ex-convict. Marius doesn't want Cosette being anywhere near her father and so "steals" her from him. Unable to cope with his "loss", Val Jean takes to bed, and rests in peace.
After Cosette explains all her fathers good deeds, and his loyal self, he quickly goes to his father in laws dying bedside. However it is too late and Val Jean slips away, happily and content with his daughter and son in law.
The Les Miserables cast, like most musicals, changes its cast after around 18 months or so. The cast is _always_ of high quality, and it is extremely unlikely you are going to be let down by one of the actors or actresses performances. The cast of Les Mis was recently changed (June 23rd 2008)
_CURRENT WEST END_
Drew Sarich - Jean Val Jean
Hans Peters Janssees - Javert
Joanna Ampil - Fantine
Chris Vincent - Thenardier
Melanie La Barrie - Madame T.
Gary Watson - Marius
Edward Baruwa - Enjolras
Claire-Marie Hall - Cossette
Cassandra - Compton - Eponine
The cast are always extremely proffesional and always act out their scenes to perfection. Capturing the audience in the story is an extraordinally hard thing to do, however the cast members managed this wonderfully, and when the play was finished you were left wanting more!
Les Miserables is famous for it's beautiful music and moving musical peices.
PROLOUGE- The prolouge includes, the work song, Val Jean being arrested, Val Jean forgiven, and Val Jeans first solo song, "What have I done". The prolouge introduces the musical really, highlighting Val Jeans past, his convict and his release from prison. The music here is very effictive and gets you really in the mood and dying to find out what happens to the characters.
AT THE END OF THE DAY - This song is sung by the factory workers. Basically, singing about how hard there work is and how little they get payed. The whole chorus is on stage for this song.
I DREAMED A DREAM - This song is sung Fantine. Singing about how great she thought and wished her life would be, however looking back and seeing it wasn't all that great.
LOVELY LADIES - Lovely ladies is sung by the prostitutes, and this is where a fight begins between Fantine and some of the other prostitues, all about hiding her child, Cosette.
WHO AM I - "Who am I" is sung by Val Jean. Val Jean looks back and feels extremely guilty for all he has done in his life, such as stealing from a generous bishop who took him in for the night. It is at this point that Val Jean decides to follow the Bishops wise words.
COME TO ME - Come to me is sung by Fantine on her death bed. Fantine is singing it to her daughter Cosette, however she is not actually there, it is only an image of Cosette in her head. Val Jean is with Fantine at this point, and joins in the song near the end.
CASTLE ON A CLOUD - Castle on a cloud is sung by the young Cosette. She sings about how she wishes everything was fine again and how she imagines the castle on the cloud being so fantastic and comforting.
MASTER OF THE HOUSE - Master of the House is sung by Thenardier and Madame Thenardier. The whole cast is agian on stage at this point. The song mainly describes the Inn they keep, and introduces there nasty personalities. This song is quite a humerous one, and usually bags a few laughs from the audience.
STARS - Stars is sung by Javert. At this point Javert is still looking for the convict he released earlier but then heard of his later theft. This song is usually extremely powerful and often gets the audience off there seats during the applause.
LOOK DOWN - Look Down is also sung at the beginning of the show. Sung by the poor, it reiterates the lives of the poor and how difficult it is.
LITTLE PEOPLE - Little people is sung by street urchin Gavroche. Gavroche is usually a young boy, and a short boy is normally cast. This song usually gets the audience laughing, providing a slight relief from the harrowing last few scenes.
RED & BLACK - Red and Black is sung by all the students, led by Enjolras and Marius. The song tells the story of the days leading up to the barricade. I always find this song very amusing as it changes in key, and the tune changes every so often.
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING - Do you hear the people sing, is another song sung by the majority of the cast. I always find myself joining into the song as it is known by almost everybody.
I SAW HIM ONCE/IN MY LIFE/A HEART FULL OF LOVE - These three songs are all joined together. Introducing the love triangle between Eponine, Cosette and Marius. The songs tell that Eponine is in love with Marius, but Marius and Cosette are both in love.
PLUMET ATTACK - The plummet attack is when the Thenardiers send theives to Val Jeans house. However Eponine persuades them to go away.
ONE DAY MORE - One day more is probably the most well-loved from song from Les Miserables. The song includes each main character telling there stories through the song. This song ends the first act and _always_ gets a standing ovation from the audience!
ON MY OWN - On my own is sung by Eponine who is incredibly heartbroken at this point. She is madly in love with Marius but he is in love with Cosette. She feels as though she is on her own and nobody will ever love her.
THE ATTACK - The attack is when the fight happens. During this time Eponine takes a bullet for her beloved Marius, and sadly she dyes.
A LITTLE FALL OF RAIN - A little fall of rain is sung by Marius and Eponine when Eponine is dying. Eponine admits her true feelings to Marius, and Marius is happy to be with her as she dyes, telling her she'll be fine and somebody will take care of her, and nothing can hurt her now.
DRINK WITH ME - Drink with me is sung by Grantaire, the students and the woman two days after the deaths of everybody. They look back at old times and remember there friends. Raising there glasses for the more unfortionate.
BRING HIM HOME - Bring him home is a very touching song sung by Val Jean. Each time I have been in the show, and the five times I have seen it, I am always crying at this song. Val Jean sings about Marius and how he hopes he will be ok, and be happy with Cosette.
DOG EAT DOG - Dog Eat Dog is sung by Thenardier. The song is perhaps quite scary and has an eery atmosphere to it.
JAVERTS SUICIDE - Javert unable to cope with his decision, decides the only thing to do is to end his life, before it is ended for him. Javert throughs himself into the River Seine after singing out his heart.
TURNING - Turning is sung by the ladies who sung Lovely Ladies early in the first the act. The song highlights how much the world has changed and is the same tune as Lovely Ladies.
EMPTY CHAIRS AT EMPTY TABLES - Empty chairs at Empty tables is sung by Marius singing about his friends who he lost in the battle. This song again is extremely upsetting and you will almost definitly be left with at least a tear in your eye.
WEDDING - The wedding of Cosette and Marius is home to a "party number". The whole cast, minus the principles takes on the rolls of the wedding guests. This scene provides a light relief from the previous songs and gives us a break before the harrowing end to the show.
Overall, the music is the musical is absolutly fabulous. Each scene was acted out to perfection and you were never left with a straight face. You were either in fits of laughter due to the funnier characters such as Gavroche, or in tears at some of the heart wrenching and extremely moving songs such as Bring Home and Empty chairs and Empty tables.
During the more moving songs, the audience goes entirely silent and even after the song you never know whether to clap or stay silent and relive the moment as it was so fantastic!
Arriving in the auditorium, I was absolutly speachless. The atmosphere was electric, magical. The stage looked very pretty but very dramatic at the front of the theatre, and the audience turnout was amazing.
I cant praise Les Miserables high enough. It is definitly in my top 3 favourite musicals, and I look forward to going to London again this year to see it!
I would definitly recommend Les Miserables, and it is definitly worth the costly price you pay to watch. As the story can be quite disturbing I wouldn't say it was very suitable for the younger children, also due to the fact it is quite a long play, and as they are most likely to be oblivious to the story and not understand they would probably get rather restless and spoil the whole experience. I also have to point out that the show does contain mild swearing so watch out if you do decide to take your children.
Apart from the running time, the musical is definitly worth the money and I can't recommend highly enough!!
As the theatre is pretty central it is fairly easy to get to by bus. I wouldn't recommend travelling to by car as it can be extremely difficult to get parked!
The theatre inside is large and can seat a large number of people. I can't be entirely sure but according to my observations, every single seat in the auditorium will provide a great view.
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