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
Les Miserables - a must-see musical.
Member Name: kathrynk
Date: 28/01/10, updated on 30/05/10 (32 review reads)
Advantages: An amazing plot with beautiful music and a wonderful cast!
Disadvantages: Can be confusing if you don't know the plot beforehand.
Les Misérables - a must-see musical.
I have always been obsessed with musicals, from light-hearted Hairspray to the spectacle of Phantom of the Opera, but none of them has quite added up to the wonderful Les Misérables, an adaption of the Victor Hugo novel.
Let the music and songs, composed by Claude-Michel Shönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, which contrast from strong, angry, light-hearted and emotional, take you back to Napoleonic times in France, a time of hardships, sorrow and love.
Follow Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who escapes his life of captivity to seek redemption from his crime of stealing a loaf of bread. Along this journey, you will meet Fantine, Cosette, the Thénardiers, Eponine, Javert, Marius, Gavrouche, Enjorlas and the students of the ABC cafe. These characters will all touch you in different ways, be it the ill-treatment of young Cosette, the lost youth of Fantine, the mourning of Marius or the unrequited love of Eponine.
With hits such as 'On My Own', 'I Dreamed a Dream', 'Bring Him Home' and 'One Day More', your time in the theatre will not be a disappointment.
The talented actors and actresses have the hard job of not only sustaining an all singing play (there is no speaking at all!), but also acting through these songs. The cast I saw, including David Shannon and Nancy Sullivan, pulled this off perfectly, truly touching the hearts of the enraptured audience, who definitely felt a sense of loss when any of the characters died. Expect to get through many tissues!
The costumes give a real sense of the period, with a wide range, including Cosette's beautiful wedding gown, the smart uniforms of the revolutionary students and the rags of the poor people of France. The set works well, with a magnificent barricade and a revolving stage which shows two sides of the garden of Valjean and Cosette, when Marius courts her, displaying the love of Marius and Cosette on one side, and Eponine's solitude on the other. The choreography is highly effective, not so much dancing, but movement which really sets the mood of the musical.
I don't think I could mention any bad points, except that I recommend you go prepared, for example watching the 10th Anniversary CD or listening to the music, just so you have an idea of the plot, as it can be quite confusing if you don't know about it beforehand. Although expensive, I definitely thought that sitting a few rows from the stage was a really great experience, as we felt really close to the action without having to look up or have the orchestra too near.
Summary: An amazing West-End musical.
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