Saturday, 12 August 2017

Theatre Review: Les Miserables at The Queen's Theatre.

During my attendance to YALC two weeks ago I also attended The Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, London, to watch an amazing performance of Les Miserables. The Principal Cast on Friday 28th July were as follows;

Jean Valjean - Killian Donnelly
Javert - Hayden Tee
Fantine - Carley Stenson
M. Thernadier - Steven Meo
Mdm. Thernadier - Jacqueline Tate
Cosette - Charlotte Kennedy
Marius - Paul Wilkins
Eponine - Karis Jack
Enjolras - Hyoie O'Grady

Having watched the show for the first time in 2012, and owning both the 10th and 25th Anniversary DVDs, I knew I was in for a treat, but wow, I did not expect the almost 3 hour show to be as incredible as it was.

If you've seen the show, the movie, or read the book, you'll know first hand how powerful the story is. Valjean's journey to redemption against Javert's journey to conscience is a beautiful tale, where the characters both mirror and oppose each other. I simply adore it, and it never fails to make me cry.

One of the most powerful elements of the show however is the music. Heart wrenching ballads, intense ensemble pieces, and tearjerking instrumental pieces tell a story in themselves. As a big fan of the show and a lot of the numbers themselves, I always want to sing along and yet on July 28th I was so drawn to every actors' voice I could barely utter a word. Every member of the cast, be it principal or ensemble, were amazing, but two in particular really struck a chord with me.

I am a known fan of the character Enjolras, but Hyoie O'Grady's performance was incredible. Not only did he look the part, his voice rang out in clear clarity across the theatre, exuding the power of the character's poetic words in such songs as 'Red and Black', and during the intense barricade scenes. He was a joy to witness, his final scene drawing tears from my eyes. Being that Les Miserables is the actor's professional debut I cannot wait to see what the next few years bring for him.

Killian Donnelly meanwhile was a most impressive Jean Valjean. His acting was in my opinion completely flawless, drawing the audience in intently to the character, but it too was his voice which moved me. Listening to him sing I heard vibes of Colm Wilkinson, especially during 'Bring Him Home'; another moment that drew tears.

Of course, what makes Les Mis so incredible, at least in part, is the staging. A full size turntable is in use during many scenes which really helps to pull the audience into the story, and to incite sadness, especially during a certain barricade scene (If you know, you know).

But one of the most incredible parts of the evening was during the finale. As the final scene drew to a close and the bow began, the audience leapt to their feet; a standing ovation, and one well deserved. It was an absolutely incredible experience and one that I'll never forget.

In the two weeks since I haven't been able to get the night out of my head, and I honestly cannot wait until I can see this cast again (Now in just a few weeks time!).

I hope you enjoyed my review, and thanks for reading. As always do feel free to leave a comment below, or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

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