Super quick run-down of my thoughts on last night’s experience (especially since I’m procrastinating from doing my assignments…)
Seated third row from the front,
seeing real tears in actors/actresses eyes,
listening to moving voices shaking you to the core…
Les Miserables must be one of the best musical production I’ve seen so far (and to some embarrassment I have seen many including: Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, Jersey Boys, West Side Story, Cats, King Kong, Miss Saigon, Chicago, Grease).
Simon Gleeson was absolutely brilliant – even better than his co-starring role in Love Never Dies. I couldn’t have picked a better person to play Jean Valjean, my heart was with his character the whole time, and felt very sad to see him (very realistically) age on stage. The rest of the cast members were just as amazing. I did however wish that the songs sung by Marius were stronger, especially for Empty Chairs and Empty Tables – the character was well suited to him nevertheless, even though he did remind us of Sam Tsui/Max Schneider on Youtube…
Although cheesy at times, the stage props and effects were very effective. The ‘homeless’ often popped out from the dark sides of the stage, gun shots often went off, and background projections to indicate passing of time and movement were used. I did particularly love the moving slums as there was a great sense of depth created on a small theatre stage through the use of layering. When Fantine bit one of the rich men in her prostitute scenes, I was very surprised where the blood in her mouth came from – especially since we were sitting so close I would have expected to see how that may have been done! Also (even though cringe worthy), I had no idea how or when Javert hooked himself to the ceiling for his suicide scene.
Eponine, whilst I do not deny her talent at all, was a little awkward to watch. I noticed that her style of singing and acting had a touch of “urban” or “gangster-vibe” with her regular shrugging and accented movements… I wasn’t sure whether that was her style, or deliberate for representing “youth” or the “next generation” depicted in the story (there were also some “modern” twists in some of the songs she sung also)…hm.
The humour was great – played very well by Lara Mulcahy and Trevor Ashley. All the cast in these humorous scenes were very in character and I enjoyed watching each and every one of them get fooled by Thenardier and Madame Thenardier. I was however a little confused about why the comedic figures in theatre have to be portrayed as “big” – after all, these people were meant to be poor. But I guess it makes sense if they were meant to embody greed and gluttony… I hope this does not come across as offensive or shallow.Overall, very good delivery of the plot line, some of which was sped up where appropriate. Singing was on point, especially in parts where multiple people would sing at the same time.
ps. Hopefully I’ll be back to posting more regular posts…as soon as uni finishes (not too long now!) Thankyou for reading 🙂