By Hannah Miller
As the longest running musical in the West End, Les Miserables celebrated its 33rd year at on the 8th October, which incidentally is when I managed to see it. Having already seen the show, I was very aware of how emotional it makes me, but even so, it still managed to blow me away.
Bradley Jadon stole the show as Javert. Having previously played some of my favourite roles within musical theatre (Enjolras in Les Miserables and Fiyero in Wicked), I probably went in with a biased opinion of him, expecting a lot. He lived up this high standard, with Stars being one of the stand out moments of the show for me.
Controversially, I wasn’t a fan of the portrayal of both Fantine and Eponine in this cast. With these two characters being favourites of mine, I was disappointed with how they were; Carley Stenson who played Fantine, didn’t lack in emotion at all. Her Fantine was brilliant, yet I just felt that her voice didn’t suit the role. Eponine is, like most teenage girls who were obsessed with Les Mis, a role that will always be special to me. Yet, I just found that Elena Skye, who played her, didn’t do the role justice.
Dean Chisnall was an outstanding Jean Valjean. His rendition of Bring Him Home brought the house down, and was easily a highlight of the performance. With Jean Valjean being a tough role to play due to the vocal range the actor is going to need, it’s easy to get wrong. Yet, he was note perfect for the entire show and captured the emotion of the character perfectly.
Other outstanding actors in the performance were Samuel Edwards, playing Enjolras. He managed to capture the characteristics of the stubborn revolutionary perfectly, and still managed to show his softer side during Drink With Me, a portrayal that perfectly encapsulated the conflicting sides to his personality that Hugo wrote in the original novel. Amara Okereke and Toby Miles stood out as Cosette and Marius respectively. Having both just graduated this year from Arts Educational School, and this being Miles’ West End and professional debut, it is outstanding how good they are and the joy they brought to the show with their innocence from their characters. Stephen Meo and Vivien Parry were also amazing as Monsieur and Madame Thendardier, their comic timing gave the show its much needed comic relief. Yet ‘The Sewers’ gave a well needed reminder of just how depraved they actually were, as Meo’s rendition felt particularly jarring. Of course, Les Miserables isn’t complete without its extensive chorus. They all were incredibly strong and helped carry the show, making it an extremely strong and moving production.
Going on the musicals 33rd birthday was an even more special experience. I would definitely regard Les Miserables as being my favourite musical, so just to see it performed is amazing enough. But to have the cast come out on stage and sing happy birthday to it was even more special and it felt amazing to celebrate this musical that has meant so much to me, along with the cast and so many other fans.