Tag Archives: Sierra Boggess

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.

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary, October 2nd 2011 (evening)

4 Oct

I was expecting to be blown away by this performance, simple as that. I’m not someone who tends to spend 180 quid on a single theatre ticket. I mean, come on, I can see Jersey Boys 9 times for that amount of money! But this was a special occasion and we’re talking about my most likely last chance to see Ramin Karimloo in the original Phantom of the Opera. So yes, I did get a ridiculously expensive ticket for the Sunday evening performance of the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall. Well, technically I didn’t because I have the best parents in the world who sponsored my ticket as an early birthday present.

But still, it was a lot of money for one single ticket and I wanted to experience something special for a price like this.

 

I should point out that I am not a Phan (as the fans of the show call themselves) and I have only seen the Phantom of the Opera once and that was years and years ago. So I can’t compare this anniversary production to any other productions of the show and I’ve got nothing to compare the performers to. What I can and will do is write down my personal view of the evening.

 

First of all, the Royal Albert Hall is a pretty impressive venue. I arrived a little late so didn’t have the time to fully appreciate it before the show. But just walking into the auditorium and seeing the size of the whole place was a memorable experience. The biggest surprise of the evening happened right then (well, apart from running into Dane Quixall right before the show – London really is a village!) when I got to my seat. When I booked the ticket the seating plan indicated that I was sitting in front arena, right hand side, aisle seat, 4 rows from the stage. However I discovered that the rows in front of me had been taken out which transformed my cool 4th row seat into a super-cool front row seat. To say I was happy would be the understatement of the year!

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 The show itself was… I don’t even know how to put it into words. To sum it up with a simple “Amazing!!” doesn’t give the whole thing justice. But it’s hard to sum up an event like this. There was the absolutely fantastic cast lead by Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess who both delivered the performance of a lifetime. I have seen the two on stage together in Love Never Dies various times and have always admired their stage chemistry. To see them play the leads in the original Phantom of the Opera was a dream come true. Sierra’s voice and stage presence was even better than in Love Never Dies and Ramin showed off that he is both a brilliant actor and one of the best singers the West End has ever seen. It was clearly visible how well those two get along. They work together perfectly. Ramin’s Phantom was passionate and angry, yet also vulnerable. His “Music of the night” was everything I hoped it would be. And Sierra’s Christine was breathtakingly beautiful with a voice to die for. Her “Think of me” was simply stunning. For me the two were perfection.

Hadley Fraser as Raoul was the third person I had really been looking forward to seeing that night. I love Hadley’s Javert in Les Miserables plus he is one half of Sheytoons (alongside Ramin Karimloo). It’s fantastic to see him finally getting the attention he deserves as I think he is one of the most underated performers in the West End. Hadley is such a talented singer and actor and I loved his portrayal of Raoul. Some people have written that his Raoul was too arrogant and his voice too weak but I honestly can’t go along with those opinions. For me his Raoul came across as very sure of himself – a guy who knows exactly what he wants – and I think that fit perfectly. And I adore Hadley’s voice – he and Sierra sounded beautifully in “All I ask of you”.

The rest of the cast did a great job as well and it was quite a sight to see such a huge ensemble fill the stage. I was particularly impressed by “Masquerade”.

 

The set was a clever mix between set and projection screens. Some scenes might have worked better in a more intimate venue but all in all I thought the way this show was staged was very well done. They even had the big chandelier which was quite the sight. Yes, it would have been even better to have less projections and more set but I can see the reason for staging the show the way it was done. And it worked and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the performance.

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For the big finale we first got a speech by both Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh and appearances by the original creative team and the original London cast of the show. Following that was a choral arranement of “The Music of the night” sung by Colm Wilkinson, Jon Owen Jones, Anthony Warlow and Peter Jöback – impressive although I am not really sure Peter Jöback’s voice is suited for the part (everyone shall find out when he joins the London cast in March 2012). Of course, a Phantom anniversary wouldn’t be complete without the original Phantom and Christine. Sarah Brightman sang the title track of the show together with 5 Phantoms (the ones named before plus Ramin Karimloo). It was a memorable moment to see her on stage that evening but I have to admit I was rather disappointed with her singing. Her voice was almost drowned out by the music and the high note at the end was clearly click tracked.

Michael Crawford took a bow at the end of the show and seemed completely overwhelmed by the response of the audience (everyone was on their feet as soon as he came on stage) but didn’t sing. The show ended with Ramin and Sierra taking an extra bow (after being pushed back on stage by Colm Wilkinson) and Ramin carrying Sierra off stage which was a lovely ending to a fantastic evening.

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I admit I’m not a big fan of most of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows and The Phantom of the Opera will never be amongst my favourite shows. But to be part of this anniversary was something I will cherish forever and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I was expecting to be blown away by this performance – and I was.

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Thanks to Sarah for the first photo.
Credit for the other 3 photos goes to wooller.com.

Well, hello……

8 Sep

I figure the first post is always the hardest. Getting started and all that. Bla bla bla.

Since this is a theatre blog I might as well jump right in and mention the upcoming theatre related events I’m most excited about at the moment.

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Concert
Taking place at the Royal Albert Hall, October 1 and 2 2011. I’m the proud owner of a ridiculously expensive front arena ticket… 180 quid, I kid you not!! Whilst Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows are not amongst my favourites (there, I’ve said it!) I seriously cannot WAIT for this show. It’s going to be huge I’m sure. And seeing the amazing Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess on stage together for the first time since Love Never Dies is worth the money alone.

A night with the Phantom – Ramin Karimloo in concert
The title explains it all really. Ramin Karimloo is a singing god and that is a fact! That voice is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in my life and just the thought of hearing him sing excites me to no end. Bristol and Manchester, here I come!

Matilda – The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre
I have heard so many great things about this production and I’m thrilled it’s getting a West End transfer. This is right at the top of my “Must-see list”.

Last performance of Priscilla – Queen of the desert at the Palace Theatre
How can I look forward to the closure of a show? Well, I’m not. It’s sad to see this show closing and the West End will be a bit less colourfull without Felicia, Tick and Bernadette. But just imagine the last performance of a show on New Year’s Eve, a most likely sold out house – the atmosphere will be electric and the show will get the fabulous send off it deserves.

And then there’s all the rumored events that might or might not happen: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical, Hugh Jackman bringing his solo show to London, more Sheytoons gigs later this year or early next year (in case you are wondering, Sheytoons are Hadley Fraser and Ramin Karimloo and you’ve been missing out big time in case you haven’t heard from them) and so on.

London theatre life certainly never gets boring.