Les Misérables The International Tour.
***** 5 Stars
“The musical phenomenon that continues to transcend time”
Even after 34 years of unbroken performances in London’s west end and numerous Tours its remarkable that Les Mis as its affectionally known continues to sell out where ever it goes, and its just done just that at Edinburgh’s grand Festival Theatre.
This the 25th Anniversary production, created in 2009 to mark the milestone, its also headed for the west end itself taking up residency in the Queen’s Theatre following renovations and the closing of the original production. This news means that the public glare is fully on this new production which draws inspiration from Victor Hugo’s Paintings, a new stunning set design and a pacier sense of direction.
Its truly a Les Mis for a new generation whilst maintaining the heart of the original and despite a running time of nearly 3 hours it remains as riveting as ever. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Ex-convict Jean Valjean ( a blistering performance from Killian Donnelly) is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Nic Greenshields, who simply redefines the role) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
This production dispenses with a turntable, and uses an automated set that brings France to life in a spectacular way, combined with projections of Hugo’s own artwork it really takes the audience inside the heart of the story and director’s Laurence Connor and James Powell have reset the pacing of the show to such an extent it zips along and the big songs are delivered to audience so captivated they watch in wrapped silence.
Performance wise all the leads excel, both Donnelly and Greenshields must be seen to be believed, especially Greenshields take on Javert, this at last a Javert that stands up to the original in every way. The same cant be said for Martin Ball’s Thenardier, which often slips out of tune and clashes a little against the excellence of the over all casting.
What really gives quality to this production is the large 14-piece orchestra under the Baton of Ben Atkinson, the gorgeous score, which has been re-arranged for the new production’s rings around the auditorium, and it’s the music that truly captures the heart, setting the audience on a journey of emotions they will never forget.
After 34 years I would be easy to think a production could run out of steam and feel dated, However Cameron Mackintosh has ensured the Les Misérables remains the musical Phenomenon that continues to transcend time. Do what you can to storm the barricades and get a ticket!
Cameron Mackintosh presents Boublil & Schonberg’s Les Misérables the 25th Anniversary Production. Festival Theatre Edinburgh runs until 16th February SOLD OUT for returns contact the Theatre Box Office. UK Tour continue. https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/lesmiserables