Les Misérables - December 15, 2010 (Queen's Theatre, London)


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This was the fourth time I got to see Les Misérables! And I actually love it more and more! This truely is the greatest musical ever, and although I've only seen the London production (so far) and have nothing to compare with, I think their production is really awesome! Every time you see it you discover new things, and the better you know the musical the more you can focus on the details. Plus there are of course some changes over the years, and each performer has his/her own way to play a part. So for me it never gets boring, no matter how many times I'm lucky enough to get to see it.

But this time we got a bad start - when it turned out that four of the main characters would be played by understudies! Of course you can never be sure that everyone in the cast will be performing. But I've never seen a show with this many understudies before! Jean Valjean was played by Simon Shorten instead of Simon Bowman. Javert was played by Jeff Nicholson instead of Norm Lewis. Fantine was played by A.J. Callaghan instead of Rebecca Seale and Cosette was played by Helen Owen instead of Lucie Jones. I do think they did a great job! Sadly, something happened to Gavroche (Mason O'Connor). I noticed he was missing at the end of the first act ("One Day More"), and at the beginning of the second act they announced that he was indisposed and that part would now be played by A.J. Callaghan (who also played Fantine). It was a bit unusual seeing a woman as little Gavroche. But she was really amazing! Totally believable! I loved the scene with Gavroche and Javert!

The show felt a bit stressed, like they were rushing through some scenes. The cast at times seemed to be singing faster, and some scenes were shorter than before. Maybe they are trying to make the show shorter, which I think is a shame. But at the same time some scenes seemed more developed, or maybe it was just due to the fact that we had such excellent seats in the second row, and could really see all details?

I think Jean Valjean looked quite creepy as a convict in the beginning. I was thinking "no way they'll get him to look like a nice mayor", but I was proven wrong. He completely transformed! I really liked him a lot, and he even handled "Bring Him Home" which not that many are able to. One of my very favourite Valjeans, for sure!

At first it felt a bit unusual seeing Jeff Nicholson as Javert, as I've seen him as Grantaire before, but he was really great as Javert too. I really liked A.J. Callaghan as Fantine as well. Really talented, and I was quite impressed with the way she played both Fantine and Gavroche.

Martin Ball played Thénardier last time I saw Les Misérables also, and I think he has improved. Really funny, and "Master of the House" was excellent!

Alistair Brammer I saw as Marius last year as well, and I was quite impressed by him. He was good this time as well. I really missed Nancy Sullivan as Eponine, but Samantha Barks did a good job also. Martin Neely as Grantaire was really good, so funny, and I think he also played Factory Foreman - and did a really great job with that part as well!

As Enjolras is my favourite character I was quite curious to see the "new" Enjolras - Killian Donnelly. I tend to have very high demands on whoever plays the part, and am happy to say that Killian was really great! He did an amazing job and although no one can beat Michael Maguire (sorry!), he shares the place of my 2nd favourite with Simon Bailey (2006 cast). I would really like to see Killian as Enjolras again!

It's always a great experience to get to see Les Misérables, and I really hope I will get to see it soon again!

Cast:
Jean Valjean: Simon Shorten
Javert - Jeff Nicholson
Fantine - A.J. Callaghan
Thénardier - Martin Ball
Madame Thénardier - Lorraine Bruce
Eponine - Samantha Barks
Enjolras - Killian Donnelly
Marius - Alistair Brammer
Cosette - Helen Owen
Grantaire - Martin Neely
Young Cosette - Chloe Panayi
Gavroche - Mason O'Connor / A.J. Callagahan

My favourites in this production were Killian Donnelly, A.J. Callaghan, Simon Shorten and Jeff Nicholson.

Program & Souvenir Brochure:

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