Les Misérables Tour Review – Newcastle Theatre Royal
If you’re a fan of Les Misérables and haven’t already booked, your ticket, you might want to do so. The Boublil and Schönberg musical is currently running at Theatre Royal, Newcastle, and last night I went along to Press Night.
I’ve never seen Les Mis, or had any real desire to. I’ll admit the dreary sounding name alone has put me off. I knew nothing about the story or the songs (apart from iconic ‘I Dreamed a Dream’) and had little idea of what to expect. But oh my goodness, I was absolutely blown away.
Based on the Victor Hugo classic novel, Les Misérables is the story of Jean Valjean (Killian Donnelly), a prisoner who breaks parole. And the police inspector, Javert (Nic Greenshields) who tries to hunt him down. The musical drama introduces several pivotal characters including Fantine (Katie Hall), Cosette (Bronwen Hanson) and Marius (Harry Apps),during an era of severe poverty which launched the French Revolution.
Les Mis takes us on Valjeans journey of twists and turns as he tries to get his life back on track. And how those he meets, determines the direction his life takes.
The entire performance is sang. With superb solo performances, and outstanding ensembles. Undoubtedly, the most powerful I have seen in Theatre. Each followed by a loud round of applauds from the audience.
The skill and imagination which has been put into set production is more than impressive. There were times when I hadn’t even noticed a set change take place, as they glided on and off stage with ease. The set during the performance of ‘Look Down (Beggars)’ was a standout for me. Along with the Battle. Clever use of lighting and gunshots made quite an intense scene. And I also must mention the magnificent use of special effects on the backdrop during Javerts suicide as he plunges into the River Seine.
Highlights of the two and a half hour show for me were Katie Halls beautiful performance of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’, ‘Lovely Ladies’, the array of more flamboyant costumes during this scene were amazing. And ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’.As Marius weeps over the realisation that his friends are dead and gone.
As much as I enjoyed Act One, I found it was Act Two which really pulled me in. I did lose the storyline a little during the first half of the show, but Act Two I seemed to piece bits together. And I was overcome with emotion as the show came to an end. The only words I could seem to find were ‘wow’.As I stood and joined the rest of cheering crown in the packed auditorium with a standing ovation.
Les Mis brings love, death, war, peace and so much more. With a little bit of humour from Inn owners and secondary antagonist’s Madame Thénardier (Sophie-Louise Dann) and Thénardier (Martin Ball). And all before a Live Orchestra, directed by Ben Atkinson.
Les Misérables tells us that love and compassion are the most important gifts we can give one another, and I wholeheartedly agree. I expect I shall be thinking about last nights spectacular performance for a while to come.
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