Zac Hamilton – Jean Valjean
Nic Greenshields – Javert
Katie Hall – Fatine
Tegan Bannister – Eponine
Harry Apps – Marius
Bronwen Hanson – Cosette
Martin Ball – Thenardier
Sophie-Louise Dann – Madame Thenardier
Leo Miles – Enjolras
Joseph Sheppard – Gavroche
Pheenie Markham – Little Cosette
Date: Monday 19th August 2019
Venue: Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Les Miserables is quite frankly one of the greatest musicals of all time for a very good reason, it blows you away. It’s been just over three years since I had the experience of seeing this on stage for the first time in the West End of London. I have been super excited about seeing the touring production as it is the new production and will be returning to London after the concert version and theatre refurbishment. Something this outstanding show manages to do so many times is fully break your heart, don’t expect your usually happy go lucky moments in this musical. We do get some light relief moments but it is hardcore from start to finish.
The emotions you go through is because we get to see the characters grow the chase between Jean Valjean and Javert is something else and you cannot help but be engrossed in what is going to happen between the pair. Will Javert manage to capture 24601 after ten years of being on the run? With this happening and a new life for Jean Valjean, he comes across Fatine, who he inadvertently lets the foreman sack her from her job. As she was sending money to support her young daughter Cosette, falling to the gutter and selling everything including her hair and her body to horrible men. This is when Jean Valjean comes across her again and sort of saves her from that life, but she is too ill. He vows to find Cosette and raise her for Fatine.
The Thenardier‘s manage to lighten the mood a little bit with “Master of the House” which really is just fantastically funny to watch. Just showing how far they are willing to go to make a little bit of money. Poor Cosette was left to be looked after by them which basically meant she was in a Cinderella type role of doing chores and the horrible jobs. We then get a flash forward and the men including Marius ready to take a stand with the barricade.
Something that is still very true for myself is that I Dreamed a Dream still totally breaks me and I struggle to hold it together. The placement within the story but then the lyrics to that song really do get to me every single time and this was no different.
The performances were breathtaking and I throughly enjoyed seeing Nic Greenshields as Javert and he totally owned the role. I was lucky enough to see him a few times as the Monster in Young Frankenstein and to see him in Les Mis really was such a special experience. Amazing stage presence in the role and his vocal range truly fantastic throughout, an amazing Javert that is for sure!
Zac Hamilton was on as Jean Valjean and I was very impressed with his portrayal, surely this role is one of the toughest to take on in musical theatre? The different emotions you must go through and do all of that while singing and acting together. A very intense part and I felt Zac really did it so much credit. You want nothing more than his life to have a little bit of joy.
Leo Miles was on as Enjorlas and was a true joy to watch in that smaller yet very important and effective role. An incredible voice and his stage presence was truly outstanding. Katie Hall broke my heart with her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream. Martin Ball and Sophie-Louise Dann really brining the laughs as the Thenardier’s which really all comes at the best times considering how heavy the show really is.
Tegan Bannister absolutely nailed On My Own and a joy to watch as Eponine. Harry Apps a very good Marius showing his character growth throughout. Bronwen Hanson as Cosette worked so very well with Harry Apps, in what is a very nice love story within all of the sadness. Joseph Sheppard was on as Gavroche and what a truly talented little actor he is! Not forgetting how utterly heartbreaking that moment is!
The production is so fantastic and it just shows that we do not really need the moving/revolving stage as this works so very well. We get all of the action and change of scenery throughout the story telling and it works out in such an amazing way. Seeing this show again really does confirm what a truly incredible musical this really is. From the production, the music, the lyrics, the acting and the heartbreak but also a few heartwarming moments as well.
So many outstanding songs I Dreamed a Dream, One Day More, Bring Him Home, On My Own and of course Do You Hear the People Sing?
The UK tour is currently at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle for a 7 week engagement! I am hoping I can make it make to see this utterly breathtaking show all over again.