Les Misérables has to be one of the most recognised musicals the West End has and for a show that has been playing for more than 30 years, I was pleased to see a full audience on a Tuesday evening. The production itself shows no signs of slowing down and looks to continue for many more years with a huge fanbase following!
With the hugely successful film adaptation making the story familiar to many of us, I am not at all surprised the show continues to draw in big crowds and continues to play in many countries across the globe.
Much of the energy for this show comes from the delivery by the current cast. Killian Donnelly plays John Valjean who brings a powerful yet touching character. ‘Bring Him Home’ resulted in a number of audience members crying from Killians perfect vocals for this song.
I had wanted to see this production for a number of years and it is clear to see why it continues to attract a large audience. However I felt that the production felt rushed during the majority of Act 1, this heightened even more so by the revolve continually being used. At times I found it difficult to focus on a particular cast member as the set and cast were continually moving. Having watching the filmed I had a good understanding of the show already, however if it hadn’t been for me seeing the film I believe I would have struggled to follow the storyline.
The set itself is simplistic yet I was pleasantly surprised with the clever use of set for the barricade. I particularly enjoyed the slow motion sequences which whilst simple, it was extremely effective and touching to the store, getting across to the audience the emotion of the production.
The continued success of this shows comes from its famous score and a number of songs which are known, even by those whom may have not seen much musical theatre or have knowledge of Les Miserables. The live orchestra for this production complemented the score perfectly although I found the drums to sound out of place with the rest of the music.
The show comes across as a well run production however because I felt the performance was compromised because of the rushed pace, speed and over use of the revolve and this made me enjoyment of the performance decrease as I didn’t feel the audience could connect emotionally with the story.