Tag Archives: Les Miserables

Les Misérables – London

14 Jun

Les Misérables has long been one of the all time classics of London’s theatre scene. And ever since the release of the motion picture starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean the musical’s popularity has reached new highs.

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Now in its 33rd year the show recently welcomed a new cast to the Queen’s theatre. Dean Chisnall now stars as Jean Valjean – the man who quite frankly gets into a whole lot of trouble for stealing a loaf of bread. Having recently appeared as The Narrator in Blood Brothers (UK Tour) this is Dean’s long overdue return to the West End. Jean Valjean is a role that requires both vocal and acting strength. And Dean is not short on either of those. He manages to give Valjean a vulnerability that makes it easy to relate to the convict who breaks his parole. At the same time his Valjean is determined and strong. He is haunted by his past but knows right from wrong and wants to be a good man. Vocally Dean handles the score with ease, his “Soliloquy” and “Bring him home” being a particular highlight.

David Thaxton continues as Javert until July 21st (Bradley Jaden takes over from July 23rd). His take on the role is unique and perfect in its very own way – Javert being driven by his hunt for Valjean and appearing to be on the edge of losing his mind. Combined with a strong voice this makes for a stand out performance. Seeing Dean and David on stage together is especially thrilling. Watching them literally puts you on the edge of your seat.

Elena Skye’s Eponine is exactly what I expect of the role – rough and a bit run down from what life has thrown at her, yet strong and witty with a will to be better than her parents. Eponine is not the pretty girl from next door and Elena portrays just that. Her “On my own” brings the house down and her longing for Marius is believable without being tacky.

Another strong new addiction to the cast is Amara Okereke as Cosette who does not drift into the “helpless girl” cliché too much which is all too easy with this role. And with her clear voice she manages to express Cosette’s feelings through the songs.

Toby Miles is a solid Marius with a good voice. However, the stand out amongst the students is Samuel Edwards’ Enjolras who shines every time he appears on stage. I will admit I am no fan of his wig – but that might be just me.

The Thenardiers, played by Steven Meo and Vivien Parry, provide most of the comic relief moments of the show with Vivien giving the strongest performance. Her Madame Thenardier is sarcastic to the bone and nasty as can be.

Carley Stenson gives a good performance as Fantine. Her “I dreamed a dream” is full of despair and pulls at the audience’s hearts.

It is great to see Les Misérables is still going strong at the Queen’s Theatre. The show proves that theatre is alive and kicking and will be for many years to come.

If you have not seen the show I suggest you do it now because Les Misérables is having a great year cast wise. And if you have seen the show before: Go again because you do not want to miss seeing all that talent on stage.

Les Misérables is playing at the Queen’s Theatre. For more info and tickets go to https://www.lesmis.com/london.

Find the show on Facebook and Twitter @lesmisofficial .

*More pictures will be added once the new production shots have been released*

 

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Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre – 17th July 2013

23 Jul

I only got into Les Miserables in 2011 so I am definitely still a novice when it comes to “the greatest show of all times” (as many people like to call it). However, since my first visit I have made sure to catch every new cast to see how the show developes with new takes on different roles.

So once again a brand new cast has taken its place on the barricades. Tam Mutu continues as Javert and does a simply wonderful job. He has really made the part his own since taking over from Hadley Fraser in 2012. His Javert is dangerous and determined and his vocals are quite simply sublime.

On my visit Daniel Koek was on for Valjean – at that point he was still the alternate but as it turns out he has now taken over the part full-time. I admit I was a bit sceptical after hearing rather mixed views on Daniel’s performance in West Side Story. But I tried to watch him with an open mind, always happy to let myself be taken in of his performing qualities. And I’ll give him this: His voice is quite something – strong and powerful. He hit even the most difficult notes with ease and delivered a quite wonderful “Bring him home”. However, as much as I appreciate a great voice it often just isn’t enough. And for me Daniel is a good example for this. Great singer but seriously lacking on the acting side. It might be just me but I found his acting extremely over the top throughout the show. Yes, Valjean is a part that requires passionate acting but there is a difference between passion and taking every little gesture to the extreme. I ended up being rather annoyed by Daniel’s Valjean which didn’t help feeling any kind of compassion for the character.

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Na-Young Jeon has taken over as Fantine and she does a brilliant job. Her “I dreamt a dream” was heartbreaking – I loved Sierra Boggess’ version of the song but for me Na-Young took the song to a new level. Such a powerful voice full of passion. Her Fantine is vulnerable yet determined to do what she thinks is necessary to save her daughter.

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Cameron Blakely continues as Thenardier. He is joined by Wendy Ferguson as Madame Thenardier. They work well together and Wendy is by far the most “evil” Madame Thenardier I have seen in the show – no wonder poor little Cosette is afraid of her!

Carrie Hope Fletcher is probably the most anticipated new addition to the cast. Having played Young Eponine many years ago she now joins the show as Eponine. I have seen Carrie live supporting Ramin Karimloo and Sheytoons so I knew she had a fine voice. Personally I enjoyed her portrayal of the role. I do think she needs to settle into the part a bit more to become a great Eponine – sometimes she seemed a bit too insecure. I prefer Eponine to be a mix of insecure and determined as it gives the character more depth. But I’m sure Carrie’s portrayal will develop in the next few weeks. And as expected her “On my own” was absolutely wonderful.

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Samantha Dorsey continues as Cosette with Rob Houchen taking over as Marius who is making his West End debut in Les Miserables. He has a good voice and manages to make the most of a (in my opinion) slightly boring character.

Anton Zetterholm is who I was most interested to see. I used to follow his career back in the days when he won a tv show in Germany which was set up to discover the leads for the German production of Tarzan the musical. I saw him as Tarzan and always thought he had a brilliant voice. However, I wasn’t sure he would suit the part of Enjolras – to be honest I just couldn’t see this thin and rather young-looking guy leading a revolution. But I am happy to report I was wrong. Anton commanded the stage – his voice was powerful, he was strong and determined and he left no doubt that casting him as Enjolras was a rather brilliant idea.

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I really enjoyed watching the new ensemble – a group of strong singers and passionate actors. Special mention for the new Factory Foreman (Chris Holland) and Carl Mullaney who just belongs to Les Miserables. His Bamatabois is so wonderfully evil and a joy to watch. Niall Sheehy’s Feuilly stood out amongst the students and really made me want to see his take on Enjolras at some point.

All in all I think this cast is stronger than the last cast. But the fact I couldn’t really warm to the new Valjean means I most likely won’t be going back unless his understudy (Chris Holland) is on.

Les Miserables is running at the Queen’s Theatre. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.lesmis.com/uk/.

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 2

24 Jun

Saturday 22nd June 2013

Once, Wicked, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Top Hat, Matilda, We will rock you, The Bodyguard, Jersey Boys, A Chorus Line, Rock of Ages

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 1

24 Jun

Sound Check – Friday 21st June 2013

Jersey Boys, We will rock you, The Bodyguard, Wicked, Top Hat, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables

Les Miserables – The Movie Soundtrack… (Update) and the movie

8 Jan

Like so many others I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Les Miserables movie for months. This upcoming Friday I will finally get to see the finished product – to say I’m excited would be an understatement.

I have given the movie soundtrack a listen in the last few days and thought I’d share my views. Obviously these are based on the songs alone since I haven’t seen the actual movie yet. I’m fully aware that the songs might come across in a different light in context with the film.

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Lets start with Russel Crowe as Javert. I was really sceptical about this casting but after listening to his version of “Stars” I’ve changed my mind. He doesn’t have a power voice like Hadley Fraser or Tam Mutu (to name just two) but I quite like his rather soft version of the song. His Javert seems to be more subtle and less forceful and aggressive than (for example) Hadley Fraser’s Javert.

I totally adore Samantha Barks’ version of “On my own”. However, judging from “I dreamt a dream” Anne Hathaway is the star in this movie. I was tearing up just listening to her sing and I’ll probably be a complete mess watching her on the big screen.

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I generally don’t really like Cosette as a character but Amanda Seyfried does a good job singing the songs. Eddie Redmayne (Marius) is a great singer, no doubt about that. Personally I don’t really like the tone of his voice but that is just my preference. I’m really impressed by Aaron Tveit as Enjolras – such a fantastic voice!

Don’t crucify me for this but I still think Helena Bonham Carter is no singer at all. She’s a good actress and I’m sure her portrayal of Madame Thenardier works in the movie but I just think her voice lacks power. Plus when listening to “Master of the house” to me it sounds like Madame Thenardier is completely drunk which is a bit strange. Sacha Baron Cohen seems to be really funny as Thenardier but his accent irritates me – it sounds too much like “Borat goes Thenardier” to me if that makes any sense.

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Which leaves me with the one and only Hugh Jackman. Now, some of you may know that I adore Mr. Jackman. I flew to New York in 2009 mainly because he was staring in “A Steady Rain” on Broadway and I have sat through quite a few rather bad movies just because of him (Real Steel springs to mind). So as you can imagine I was really looking forward to hearing his take on those epic songs in Les Miserables. I’ve listened to the soundtrack a few times to make up my mind about his singing and I’m still not really sure what to think I have to say. My main “problem” with his voice is that it seems a bit too harsh. I don’t like his “Bring him home” at all I’m sad to say – he starts out way too forcefully and his voice doesn’t really suit the song. I quite like the confrontation and he does well in “One day more” (apart from cutting several notes a bit too short for my liking). One song that really stands out is “Suddenly” which has been written especially for the movie. This one seems to be made for Hugh’s voice and is definitely his singing highlight on the soundtrack.

All in all I have to say I won’t listen to his version of the songs a lot. However, I’m pretty sure it will be a whole different think when I’m actually watching the movie. So I shall reserve final judgement until later this week.

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The soundtrack as a stand alone gets 3 out of 5 stars from me. It’s definitely a must have for any Les Miserables fan and just “I dreamt a dream”, “On my own” and “Suddenly” make it a valuable item in any CD collection. However, when it comes to just listening to the Les Miserables score I would choose the cast recording of the actual stage show over the movie soundtrack any time.

Update – 13th January

So, after watching the Les Miserable movie at the IMAX on Friday I thought I should add my thoughts on it. I’m not going to do a long review but I will say this: This is one of the most glorious movies I have seen in my life. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are beyond amazing and I really enjoyed Russel Crowe’s more subtle take on Javert. He makes the part his own even though he doesn’t have the most powerful voice.
I still think Hugh Jackman’s voice isn’t right for Bring him home but that didn’t really bother me. His Valjean is raw and pure and he puts so much emotion into his performance – that one not so brilliant song really doesn’t take anything away from an outstanding portrayal.
Samantha Bark’s Eponine is simply wonderful. Actually there isn’t a weak link in the whole film. Even Helena Bonham-Carter (who I still think should give up the singing) fits in perfectly. Her and Sacha Baron Cohen are brilliantly funny and put a bit of a light note on an otherwise pretty sad and dramatic movie.
It was nice to see some familiar faces on the big screen: Hadley Fraser, Fra Fee, Caroline Sheen, Bertie Carvel and Stuart Neal, to name just a few. I will definitely have to watch the movie again focusing more on spotting the “West End Wendies”.
All in all Les Miserables is a through and through amazing movie. Obviously it’s based on the stage version of the story but some bits of the book have been added which works really well. I urge all of you to go and see this movie. But don’t forget to take tissues along!

Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre – July 11th 2012 (matinee)

17 Jul

Les Miserables is one of those shows that will probably be around for ever – and rightly so. The show is an all time classic and loved by millions of fans around the world. It has a great story, interesting characters and a score to die for.

The cast is now led by Geronimo Rauch as Jean Valjean. He has already played the part in Spain to rave review. His Valjean is very physical and his voice is strong and suits the songs well. He doesn’t have a strong Spanish accent but I admit I found his pronunciation slightly irritating from time to time.
One of the things I enjoy watching the most in this show is the interaction between Valjean and Javert. Tam Mutu has taken over from Hadley Fraser as the latter and delivers a particularly strong performance. Sadly I don’t think him and Geronimo work too well together. Tam’s Javert seems to dominate Geronimo’s Valjean both physically and acting wise. I have seen Tam in Love never dies and whilst I liked his performance in this show I was never blown away by him. Being a fan of Hadley Fraser I was slightly worried about seeing Tam take over as Javert. But I can honestly say my worries vanished the moment he appeared on stage. His Javert is driven and strong and I loved his portrayal of the role. I never thought I’d say this but I actually preferred his suicide scene to Hadley’s.

One of my highlights of the new cast is Sierra Boggess. She has to be the most fragile Fantine ever – I just wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be alright! Her voice is impressive – as expected – even though she seems to struggle a bit with the lower tones in “I dreamt a dream”. I especially liked to see her play opposite Tam Mutu. You can see that those two know each other inside out by the way they work together on stage.

Danielle Hope’s Eponine is both perky and vulnerable. I wasn’t too impressed by her “On my own” but she definitely made up for it with her acting. Jonny Purchase was on for Marius and as much as I love Craig Mather’s performance it is always nice to see a new take on a role. Jonny has a lovely voice but for some reason I don’t think he’s right for Marius. He just looks too tough and mature to pass for a rather inexperienced student. The same goes for Samantha Dorsey as Cosette. She looks too mature and not right for the part. Her singing was lovely though and she and Jonny sound great together.

Cameron Blakely and Katy Secombe as Thenardier and Madame Thenardier continue to do a fantastic job. Cameron has changed tiny bits of his performance which I as a returning visitor love to see. And his “Master of the house” is simply hilarious. Liam Tamne is strong as ever as Enjolras. He has the most beautiful voice and really commands the stage during ”Red and black” and “Do you hear the people sing”.

The ensemble in Les Miserables is known to being vocally strong. The new cast makes no exception. Hearing the full cast sing “One day more” is a goose bump guarantee and the various members of the ensemble show off their impressive voices throughout the show. A special mention for James Winter who I was lucky enough to see as Bamatabois – I never knew he could be so nasty on stage! Awesome acting and what a fantastic voice! Adam Linstead never fails to make me chuckle with his fabulous portrayal of Grantaire and I really enjoyed seeing Chris Holland as Courfeyrac. Hopefully I’ll manage to catch him as Valjean in the not too distant future.

Les Miserables remains to be one of the most impressive shows in the West End. The new cast still needs a little more time to settle into their parts completely but they already do a great job after less than a month in the show. I was slightly worried about seeing this production again after so many of my favourite performers had left at the last cast change in June. But I really was pleasantly surprised by the new cast and will definitely be back to see the show again later this year.

Les Miserables is playing at the Queen’s Theatre in London. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.lesmis.com.

Please note: Sierra Boggess, Craig Mather and Liam Tamne will stay with the production until January 2013 so plan your visit accordingly in case you want to catch them on stage.

West End Live 2012

25 Jun

I started attending West End Live back in 2009 and haven’t missed it once since then. It is such a great event and a fabulous opportunity for the West End to shine. It started our rather small in Leicester Square and has grown tremendously over the years. This year there must haven been around 15.000 people. Trafalgar Square (the home of West End Live since 2011) was packed! Thankfully the weather wasn’t too bad – apart from those few nasty but short showers on the Sunday. 39 West End Shows appeared throughout the weekend. A truly fantastic line up and a great way for people to see little snippets of all the different shows in town.

I had a wonderful time on both days. Personal favourites have to be Jersey Boys, Les Miserables, Rock of Ages and Singing in the rain. However, all shows did really well and it was amazing to see so many talented people on the big stage on Saturday and Sunday.

I really enjoyed the West End Stars section on the Sunday as well. Such a good idea to give a few West End performers the chance to perform their own music in front of a big audience. Alex Gaumond was definitely my highlight – I urge all of you to download his single “Here I am” from ITunes.

In case you couldn’t be part of the fun this time make sure you are there next year. It’s been getting better and better since I started going in 2009 and I’m certain West End Live 2013 will be a weekend not to be missed!

Here are a few snaps taken throughout the weekend. As always, please don’t use them anywhere else without credit (and ask me first please).

Upcoming theatre events (a.k.a. stagey nights out)

23 Apr

Do you have a bit of spare time in the next few weeks and want to spend it doing something fabulous? Then maybe one (or more) of these upcoming events are for you.

West End Eurovision 2012 (Dominion Theatre, April 26 2012)

This is a fantastic late night show that pays tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest in true West End style. Several West End shows compete against each other by performing a past Eurovision Song Contest song. This year’s entries are:
39 Steps
Billy Elliot
Les Miserables
Mamma Mia!
Phantom of the Opera
Rock of Ages
Shrek, the musical
Sweeney Todd
Wicked
Wizard of Oz
The celebrity judges of the 2012 West End Eurovision are Tony Blackburn, Kerry Ellis and Stefanie Powers. The evening will be hosted by Gaby Roslin and John Partridge. And as if that wasn’t enough there will be a special guest performance by 2005 UK Eurovision Song Contest entry Javine Hylton.
I attended both the 2010 and the 2011 West End Eurovision and can assure you this event is one not to be missed!
For more information and to book your tickets go to http://www.madtrust.org.uk/west-end-eurovision-ticket-box-office.php?sub=overview.

Scott Garnham Late and Live in Cabaret (The Delfont Room, May 5 2012)

I only discovered the very talented Scott Garnham quite recently through Les Miserables and I was lucky enough to see him as Enjolras on several occasions (he is on again from May 21st to 23rd for anyone that wants to catch him in the part before he leaves the show on June 16th).
This will be Scott’s first solo cabaret and tickets are selling fast. Special guests include Hadley Fraser, Liam Tamne, Jon Hawkins, Laura Tebbutt and Carl Mullaney and the evening will feature two brand new songs written with Tim Prottey-Jones and Steven Luke. And all of this in one of the best cabaret venues in the West End: The Delfont Room.
Book your tickets here: http://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/Tickets/LiveIntheDelfontRoom/ScottGarnhamLateAndLiveInCabaret.asp

West End in Concert (St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, May 20 2012)

This is the first event run by the West End in Concert team. Taking place at St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden the evening will see performances by Sabrina Alouche, Lauren Samuels, MiG Ayesa, Adrian Hansel, John Wilding, Tenors of Rock, Scott Garnham, Liam Doyle, Tori Allen-Martin, Lauren Varnham, Mazz Murray, Woman Band, Chloe Hart, Brenda Edwards, Liam Tamne, Ian Carlyle, Victoria Hamilton-Barrit, Sandra Marvin, Ryan Dawson, Lucy Sinclair, Katie Paine, Rebecca Treharne, Parnell Page, Jack Hawitt and Danielle York.
If the bunch of talented performers isn’t enough to convince you to attend then the fantastic location should do the job. St. Paul’s Church is simply a stunning place for concerts.
For tickets go to http://www.seetickets.com/Event/WEST-END-IN-CONCERT-COVENT-GARDEN/St-Paul-s-Church-Covent-Garden/626896.

And in case you don’t want to go home after the concert I suggest you head over to Roadhouse Covent Garden where Bloomfield Avenue will be on stage from 8pm on. There’s free entry before 10pm and you should easily be able to catch at least part of the second set. Check out Bloomfield Avenue here http://www.bloomfieldavenueband.co.uk/. I have seen them on stage various times and have never been disappointed. They are a guarantee for a good night out.

Les Miserables – January 3 2012

10 Jan

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. 😉

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. ;

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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.

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Book tickets for Les Miserables on http://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk

Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre, December 3 2011 (mat and eve)

5 Dec

It’s funny how you can go from not watching a show at all to being a regular within a couple of months.

When Alfie Boe joined Les Miserables I started watching the show on a monthly basis. For most people that is quite a lot already. But trust me, it’s nothing compared to the amount of times I will be seeing the show in the next 3 months. And the reason for that is simple: Ramin Karimloo is the ultimate Jean Valjean. I’m not a Les Mis expert and I’m sure some of you will disagree but that’s how I see it. Ramin’s portrayal of Jean Valjean is diverse and moving and quite simply stunning.

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After I heard him sing “Bring him home” on his “A night with the Phantom” tour I thought he needed to play that part one day. Anything else would have been such a loss to the world of theatre. I even told him so after the concert in Manchester – my face when his stint in Les Mis was announced just a short time later must have been a picture.

Sadly I couldn’t be there for Ramin’s first night as Valjean (work can be really annoying sometimes, don’t you think?!). So I did what people expected from me – after all everyone knows I’m a huge supporter of Ramin and his work – and booked a short weekend trip to London to do the Les Mis double on his first Saturday in the show.

First of all, watching a show like that twice in one day is tough simply because the show is not an easy, feel good piece of theatre. It’s an emotionally draining story. And on top of that we are talking about 3 hours each – there is no seat in the world that is comfortable enough for that.


My biggest fear about Ramin in the part was the age thing. I just couldn’t imagine a guy in his early thirties looking and acting convincingly as an old man. But Ramin was aged so well! One could easily believe it was a fragile old man on stage at the end of the show both from his looks and his acting.


As I had been expecting Ramin’s Valjean is very emotional and extremely physical.

I loved Alfie Boe in the part (I’ve always had a thing for big voices) but Ramin’s Valjean is in another league. That is acting and singing on the highest level and completely spot on from beginning to end.


Most people will say I’m biased. I probably am, I admit that. But biased or not biased, I’m definitely able to tell when I’m seeing something special on stage. And I did at the Queen’s Theatre last Saturday.

It is rare for an actor to transport every feeling from anger to hurt, from despair to happiness without even saying a word. Ramin does just that and with that he manages to make me feel for his character.

I will openly admit I’m not a huge fan of “Love never dies” as a show itself. The reason I watched that show various times was Ramin’s portrayal of the Phantom (although the person who first made me see the show was the lovely Dean Chisnall).

I’m so glad to finally be able to see him play such a complex and interesting character as Jean Valjean. Yes, the Phantom in “Love never dies” has some beautiful songs and it is an emotional part. But Jean Valjean is so much more. It’s a character that goes on a journey both in the literal sense and emotionally. And it does take a really talented performer to draw the audience in and take them along on said journey. And one must not forget the part is vocally demanding as well. To play that part six times a week must be tough. On the other hand it probably is one of the most rewarding part to play for a performer as well because it is so well written and you get to sing all those beautiful songs.


I simply adore the intensity of Ramin’s portrayal. He’s one of the few actors I know that never rests on his achievements. And that means none of his performances is ever the same. He constantly develops the character he plays and will change the tone of his performance from day to day. It almost scares me to think of how amazing he will be once he has settled into the role more over the next few weeks. I was an emotional wreck after seeing those two shows on Saturday and this was only his first week as Valjean. Plus I can imagine seeing him and Hadley Fraser on stage together must be even more intense. I shall check if I’m right about that on the 16th. Don’t get me wrong though, I do think Shaun Dalton did a great job as Javert. It’s just that Ramin and Hadley always work so well on stage together.


I’m definitely doing a more detailed review after I’ve seen the show a few more times. At the moment I’m too overwhelmed to collect my thoughts properly. But trust me on this: Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean is something you do not want to miss. His performance is stunning and I’m once more convinced that this guy is one of the most talented people I have ever been lucky enough to see on stage.

So please show your support and see Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean. He even shows off a proper beard now – that alone should be reason enough to get a ticket for the show! 😉

Les Miserables is playing at the Queen’s Theatre. For more information and to book tickets go to http://www.lesmis.com