Tag Archives: Tam Mutu

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/.

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.