This week I was in London, preparing for the West End Wilma Awards but I couldn’t miss my chance to finally catch Les Miserables The Staged Concert (currently playing at the Gielgud Theatre whilst the Queens Theatre is being refurbished when a new production of the show will open the theatre under the new name the Sondheim Theatre).
This star studded concert version of the show featured Michael Ball (Javert), John Owen-Jones (John Valjean) Carrie Hope Fletcher (Fantine) Shan Ako (Eponine), Matt Lucas (Thenardier) and Katy Secombe (Madame Thenardier). The role of John Valjean is shared with Alfie Boe. Other notable West End names in this productions are Bradley Jaden, Rob Houchen and Rosa O’Reilly.
Les Miserables is a classic show that we all know and love and I think it was a great idea to keep the show running in some way, whilst its home is being refurbished.
Some of the cast are more well suited to their parts than others. Michael Ball for instance, who originated the role of Marius when the show opened in 1985 , is a few years too old to play a teenager now and instead takes on the role of Javert, which he does admirably. However I do wonder, if he was the right person to play Javert in this production. Carrie Hope Fletcher (who has played the role of Eponine several times in the past to utter perfection) gets perhaps too small a part as Fantine and I was left wanting to see more. John Owen-Jones is an incredible performer and so it was no surprise that he is still amazing in the role of Jean Valjean. His voice, stage presence and charisma all work so well and he is a veteran of the show, doing the production proud once again. The show however, is stolen by Katy Secombe as Madame Thenardier, showing herself as an incredible comedy performer.
I managed to purchase £12.50 standing tickets at the back of the stalls which had an almost perfect view of the stage and was a bargain for that price. Yes ,the standing for three hours wasn’t pleasant but at that price it was worth it.
Since seeing the updated version of Les Mis on Broadway several years ago, I have been saying since that it is time the London production (which looks old and tired) gets injected with a new lease of life with the new production and I am super excited to see it when the theatre reopens in December 2019.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
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