Last week saw the arrival of a new production of Les Misérables to Milton Keynes Theatre. Nancy Stevens attended an early performance of the new run and wrote this review.
I first saw Les Misérables, in London when I arrived in the UK 30 years ago and to be honest, I didn’t really “get it”, but loved the film, despite Russell Crowe’s decidedly dodgy vocals and wanted to see if the latest touring production was worthy of all the hype.
Les Misérables, Les Mis (as it’s affectionately known) is one of the world’s truly great mega musicals and has played to over 120 million people.
This show boasts 392 costumes, 89 cast, crew and musicians and 1782 individual items of clothing and is the granddaddy of musical theatre, here Milton Keynes Theatre until the 8th June.
A red-carpet premiere was laid on for press and I had been fortunate enough to interview two of the leads, Nic Greenshields who plays Javert and Kate Hall as Fantine, who each said this was their dream role.
The show has been touring since October and could, like many touring productions, I’ve seen, start to wane.
Well from the Prologue to Valjean’s Soliloquy – I was utterly entranced, captivated and engaged right until the rousing Finale with the quickest and longest standing ovation, I’ve ever witnessed at MK Theatre, no waning here!
Tenor and Musical Theatre legend, Olivier-Award nominated, Killian Donnelly, is simply outstanding as Jean Valjean. Donnelly originated the role of Charlie in Kinky Boots, which just proves his versatility.
The year is 1832, Valjean, a French peasant stole a loaf of bread and ended up spending 19 years in gaol for his trouble and is living to regret it.
Then he jumps parole, which doesn’t go down well with Javert, a particularly jobsworthy policeman who, with his unshakeable belief in the letter of the law, obsessively hounds Valjean.
Nic Greenshields as Javert, is huge of stature and huge of voice and constantly commands the stage. Katie Hall captures the essence of the exquisite and tortured Fantine and I just about held it together when she died.
Martin Ball and Sophie-Louise Dann as the Thenardiers, singing “Master of the House” injected much humour and bawdiness and I preferred their version to the film.