I started writing this post a couple of months ago, but I still wanted to post it because it was an excellent show and the DVD is due to be released in April.
Every now and again, I hear about why everyone should go out somewhere on their own. I’d never done it before, and the idea was pretty scary for me, but when Les Miserables announced that the staged concert would be streamed live into UK cinemas, I knew I would be going even if I went alone.
I booked my ticket well in advance and the week leading up to the event was spent listening to recordings of Les Mis and probably annoying people by talking about it so much.
I have loved Les Mis for a long time. I heard some of the songs when I was a child and then saw a recording of an anniversary production, a school production, television performances, the film, the TV series, and the show in London. Overall, I have seen, listened to, and sung a lot of Les Mis in my 22 years, but I can’t get enough.
There’s something about this show, and it’s story, and most importantly the music, that really gets me. The music moves me so much, it’s as if my insides react involuntarily every time I hear it. I can’t express in words how much I adore the music and I can’t imagine not being filled with emotions when hearing it.
Even though the story is full of tragedy and sadness, above all it is filled with hope and love and I think that is what makes it so amazing. The whole musical production takes you on a journey and you go through such moments of sadness but there is always the hope of a tomorrow which lifts you up in just the right way.
What drew me to this particular production was the cast. The show was advertised as an ‘All-star cast’ and wow were they right. I saw Carrie Hope Fletcher in the West End production and I know she is an incredible singer, but her performance as Fantine was astounding. Her rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ was on another level. Alfie Boe is a great Jean Valjean and I have seen him signing songs from Les Mis on TV before, so I knew his performance would be great and he didn’t disappoint one bit. Michael Ball as Javert was something I was curious to see as it is not a part I imagined him playing, but he was so good. Matt Lucas was also excellent and his pairing with Katy Secombe as the Thenardiers was just brilliant and their relationship (they have played the roles together before) shone through.
The whole cast was really outstanding, but I think Rob Houchen was one of the stand-out performers for me. I have seen him in Les Mis before, when I went to London, and I have heard him singing in various other things, but I was blown away by his performance of ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’. Before this show, I had never seen Bradley Jaden perform but he really stood out to me as Enjolras and he is now playing Javert in the West End which I’m sure is something amazing to see.
Going to the cinema by myself was something that I was really nervous about, but I’m so glad that I did it. It was quite nice to just think about what I wanted to do for an evening and to sit and take in the show as I wished. Although the average age of the audience was somewhat higher than my own age, I felt quite comfortable and laughed, cried and applauded without hesitation.
This particular production of Les Miserables was interesting because I have seen the stage show, and I have seen a recording of a concert version, but this was a hybrid of the two. The principal actors stood near the front of the stage whenever they were on stage because there were microphones there as there would be in the concert production. Behind this, there was a set that stayed quite static during the production, but was perfectly suited to the performance. There was some choreography, certainly not as much as in the stage production, but movements, the set, and lighting were all used in really clever ways.
Overall, I loved this production a lot and I can’t wait to watch it again when the DVD is released in April.