The 3rd of January 2012 ;marked my 7th visit to Les Miserables since June 2011. What can I say? I’ve always had a habbit of watching ;shows various times for different reasons. With Les Miserables every reason is coming together: It’s a great shows with a fantastic score, I really like the current cast as a whole and one of my favourite performers is playing the lead at the moment. So honestly, I couldn’t resist even if I wanted to. 😉
The first time I went to see Ramin Karimloo as Valjean Hadley Fraser was on holidays. I didn’t mind at the time as that gave me the opportunity to concentrate on Ramin’s performance without being “distracted” by Hadley (who I love to see as Javert).
Since then I had seen the two on stage together once and loved the interaction between them. They honestly work so well together. That combined with the fact that they are two of the nicest performers I have ever met makes them pretty special.
It’s hard to grasp the little things when seeing something for the first time so I decided to wait until now before I reviewed their performances.
First of all I adore both Ramin and Hadley as performers and as people. They are fantastic singers and they both always bring something unique to the parts they play (that is my opinion at least).
Seeing them on stage together in Les Miserables is simply breathtaking. The chemistry between them is so special – it’s like they know what the other one is thinking and have the perfect understanding of each other and trust each without boundaries. The confrontation scene between Javert and Valjean just after Fantine’s death had me on the edge of my seat. There was such a raw anger visible on stage at that moment, I seriously thought the two might start a proper fight at any time.
Hadley’s Javert used to be quite animalistic but he has calmed down a lot and plays the part with a more ;subtly dangerous touch now. And that works perfectly with Ramin’s Valjean who is full of raw anger at the beginning and grows into a more collected yet still passionate character throughout the show.I admit I’m not totally sure yet what to make of ;Ramin’s high notes in certain parts of the show (take the very last note in “Who am I” for example). They sometimes seem a little too screechy. But that’s just a minor rant and doesn’t take away from the fact that his performance as Valjean is stunning. I love that you will never get two performances from him that are exactly the same. His portrayal of a part changes, often on a daily basis. He develops his characters constantly and will change the way he plays certain scenes throughout his run in a show.
Ramin once told me that Mark Rylance is an actor who inspires him a lot – method acting at its best. And while I do think that no one comes even close to the acting genius of Mr. Rylance I can definitely see that inspiration in Ramin’s acting.
Hadley has been the most underrated performer in the West End for quite some time if you ask me. It’s fantastic to see he finally gets the attention he deserves. And I know his Javert ;is not to everyone’s taste but personally I love the way he plays the part. I’m generally not a fan of the song “Stars” but I could listen to Hadley singing it night and day.
I’ve been talking about Ramin and Hadley all the time but I can and will not forget to mention someone else: Scott Garnham. I was really impressed ;by his performance at A West End Christmas last December and so I have been looking forward to catching him as Enjolras in Les Miserables. And my God – that guy is incredible! Nothing against Liam, I do enjoy seeing him as Enjolras a lot, but Scott’s portrayal was spot on from start to finish. His Enjolras ;displays such a pure determination and his vocals were absolutely brilliant. This showed me once more how much talent is hidden in the ensembles of various shows in the West End. ;
So, I’m urging everyone to go and see Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser in Les Miserables – you’ve still got until March 3 so make sure to book your tickets. Just don’t forget that Ramin only does 6 shows a week (his off dates are posted on the Delfont Mackintosh website) and Hadley is on holidays the week commencing January 23.
And if you happen to see Scott Garnham as Enjolras as well you’re in for an extra treat.
Book tickets for Les Miserables on http://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk