I finally got to see Les Miserables in London

As the title of this post tells you, I FINALLY went to see ‘Les Miserables’ in London last night. YAY! As you may be able to tell, I am a massive fan of this musical. I fell under its spell when I was twelve years old and my school put on a production of ‘Les Mis’ as the annual school show. I hadn’t heard of it beforehand but quickly came to love it as I listened to the score and became involved in the production. (I was in the chorus and played the grand role of a street urchin.)

So last night, six years later, I went with my family to see the London production at Queens Theatre. We were sat right ‘up in the gods’ (back row of the Upper Circle) so I had worried that we wouldn’t be able to see anything. Thankfully I was wrong. This was our view of the stage:

 

Although we couldn’t see facial expressions in a great deal of detail, we could still see practically everything else fine, apart from a few things at the very top of the stage, due to the overhang.

The show itself was brilliant. The whole cast was fantastic and the set on the revolving stage was very cleverly done. Alfie Boe was jaw-droppingly amazing as Jean Valjean. His voice is just incredibly beautiful and his rendition of ‘Bring Him Home’ is the best I have ever heard. He sang it as a heartfelt prayer which was very touching.

Hadley Fraser as Javert was great and he and Boe were well-matched in voice and stature, the latter being important for when Valjean claims to be the stronger man, and Alfie Boe is not especially tall. I have to say it was a huge relief when Craig Mather as Marius began to sing, as from what I’ve heard, quite a few of his predecessors were quite weedy with weak voices, so it was good to hear a Marius with sufficient strength in his voice. The problem with casting a weak-voiced Marius is that it’s hard to suspend disbelief that he would actually go and join the boys at the barricade.

Alexia Khadime, who I saw in ‘Wicked’ in September 2010, played lovelorn Eponine. She acted it well but I felt that she had to hold back somewhat on her voice – I was used to hearing her impressive belt and thus thought her vocal performance as Eponine was rather restrained by comparison, probably so that she didn’t drown out Marius and Cosette ( recent GSA graduate Lisa-Anne Wood) during ‘A Heart Full of Love’. Therefore, good as she was, I felt that Alexia would probably be better suited to a role where she doesn’t have to rein in her voice and can exercise her full belt.

Matt Lucas was a lively and amusing Thenardier. Granted, his singing voice is not his best asset, but I enjoyed his portrayal of the character.  My favourite “Thenardier moment” was when he and Mme. Thenardier attempted to steal silver from Marius and Cosette’s wedding. They got into a tussle and ended up dropping cutlery all over the floor. They both immediately looked upwards, as if  all the spoons and forks had fallen from the ceiling. A silver plate then fell from Thenardier’s jacket, and Matt Lucas promptly said, with his great comic timing, “Well that one definitely came from up there!”

Anyway, the whole show was wonderful, and was definitely worth the wait. I only wish that a CD recording of the current cast would be produced as they were all so good and I’d love to hear Alfie Boe on a ‘Les Mis’ CD which didn’t include Nick Jonas as one of the cast. Just saying.

On a final note, I loved how Alfie Boe and Matt Lucas had a hug during the curtain call – I know they’re good friends in real life and I thought it was sweet to see a display of their friendship on stage. Hopefully they’ll be doing another kitchen duet soon?! Here’s hoping…

(For those who don’t know what I’m talking about:)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_hQP3c-deE

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