Kim Meets World

A blog raveled in randomness

Thoughts on ‘Les Miserables’

Photo from UK official website

Photo from UK official website

The musical was breathe-taking and my hands were clasped together with anticipation of how the story will continue and how the lives of these characters will unravel to come out as a new person. No matter how many times this story is told over the years, ‘Les Miserables’ will be a never-ending story for me and it will always be relatable throughout the generations. The epic story contains everything: a man finding salvation, a man who follows only the law and later falls into despair as he breaks his own belief, a couple in love, a girl who became nothing like her selfish parents and people who revolt for a better world. Such a dense narrative is combined in a way that can be touched by many readers of the book, and the musical has done justice. The music is wonderful and the lyrics are undeniably well-written that shines the feelings of the characters with moving melody lines and touching words that are easily understood with a rawness of emotions. The Les Miserables musical I saw today was incredibly oustanding!

The setting of the musical stage and cleverly made to easily interchange scenes of the vast country France. The dates and locations were noted from time to time on a transparent screen, which was often used in changing scenes. Premade barricades and gates were attached in darkness which appears in light perfectly shaped. The interesting part of the stage for me was the rotating ciruclar platform installed on the floor. It was used efficiently, espcially when Jean Valjean (played by Geronimo Rauch) was walking through the streets to find a job after his release. People were walking or sitting on the strees and while Jean Valjean walked with the rotating platform with his yellow paper, people neglected him. The effect of walking for a long time was established with the rotation of the stage and I thought that was a clever move given the fact that a small stage has its spatial limitations unlike the settings of blockbuster movies. The costumes, makeup and transitions from one scene to another were well executed and portrayed the characters’ states under different coloured lightings. I will say setting wise, it was flawless and only enhanced the mode of storytelling.

Photo from UK official website

Photo from UK official website

Now on to the performers of the musical show. Everyone who is a fan of ‘Les Miserables’ will know most of the songs by heart, so it is sometimes a risky position for a performer where the listener had heard all possibly ways of singing a famous song. At that state, I think it would be hard to move one’s heart if one thing goes wrong. However the performance I saw today was absolutely amazing! I cannot conjure up words to describe how perfect they were, which made every musical number a memorable moment in the Queen’s Theatre of London. For the first time, I stood up to give a standing ovation becuase I really did enjoy their performance. Fantine (by Celinde Schoenmaker) had a clear voice that beautifully rang the high notes of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’; Javert (by Tam Mutu) drew my breathe away with his performance–the best one out of today’s performances in my opinion–of ‘Stars’; the funny couple of Thenadier and Madame Thenadier (by Cameron Blakely and Nicky Swift) coordinated comically in such an orderly mess during ‘Master of the House’ and ‘The Bargain’; and Marius (by Jamie Ward) showed his raw emotions of loss and agony in ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’ with the sadows of his dead companions lingering behind him. I applaud all of them again!

Now if you read it till here, you will be asking: what about Corsette (Samantha Dorsey) and Eponine (by Danielle Hope)? The musical numbers for Corsette never actually took place in my heart and I think it has to do with the notes that are too high for many female performers. Too many vibratos and I never heard Corsette singing ‘A Heart Full of Love’ without the tightened texture of voice–it is hard to explain but what I want to say is that overall I never liked Corsette’s musical numbers.

One of my favorite songs is ‘On My Own’ by Eponine so I was looking foward to this performance with great interest. The performer did well, but the technique of her singing did mot make the magical moment for me through live performance. There are a lot of modern performers who sing with a (not nasal) muted sound (sounds like singing behind the back of their throats) in which they can sing the high notes without wavering. This is a singing technique I have yet to warm up to, so I have to say that the performance of ‘On My Own’ was not as memorable as I thought it would be. But the performances except for that particular number was incredible–so incredible that the awesomeness cannot be described unless the word ‘incredible’ is said a thousand times. Everyone needs to see this musical if they have the chance! For me, I had an incredible time that I hope to relive again in the same theatre space with the same talented cast and orchestra in the future!

LINKS

‘Les Miserables’ Musical London website: www.lesmis.com/uk

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7 comments on “Thoughts on ‘Les Miserables’

  1. sophiebowns
    April 10, 2013

    I love your first picture! I had the fortune of seeing the 25th anniversary tour cast with John-Owen Jones (Valjean) and Gareth Gates as Marius! What a superb production. I have many happy memories! I haven’t seen any recent productions but I’d love to see the show again one day. Great review!

    • Kim
      April 10, 2013

      I think Les Miserables is one of those rare musicals that will continue to be greatly loved by many forever. Thank you for reading!

      • sophiebowns
        April 10, 2013

        Oh absolutely, well it is the longest running musical in the West End! 😉 I love it! Another favourite of mine is Jesus Christ Superstar, I’m seeing the arena tour in October!

      • Kim
        April 10, 2013

        Oh my, I love Jesus Christ Superstar! I only saw the American musical movie (1973) so I hope to watch a live musical performance someday. Hope you have an amazing time then!

      • sophiebowns
        April 10, 2013

        Ah yes it’s wonderful ! The 2012 arena tour DVD is available on amazon! I love it! I follow most of the cast on Twitter 8)

  2. Vicky Entwistle
    April 10, 2013

    Thank you for your review Kim, but unfortunately I wasn’t on stage for this performance so I feel the true accolade should be afforded to my understudy Miss Nicky Swift!

    • Kim
      April 10, 2013

      Thank you for reading and the correction! Miss Nicky Swift did a wonderful job as Madame Thenardier making an unforgettable performance!

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This entry was posted on April 10, 2013 by in Performances and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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