I first saw Gemma Wardle’s Eponine in 1993 and 12 years on she still plays a very good Eponine, capturing this lost soul and her forever unrequited love. The relationship with Marius was not as close as some of others I have seen but this was more from Gary Tushaw’s Marius as opposed to Gemma. Gary’s interpretation of Marius seems odd for want of a better word, or different. His initial Marius is very much the privileged young man , falling in love and thinking that will take over everything. Playing revolutionaries is just a game. In act 2 he shows a more aggressive side to Marius. Overall for me he didn’t make a big impact as Marius but it is hard to say exactly why. He worked well with Julia Moller’s sweet but not outstanding Cosette and Jonathan William’s Enjolras.
Jonathan is a striking Enjolras, having both the presence to be believable as the student leader and a voice which instils a fire in fellow students. A strong and believable performance.
Michael McCarthy, Stephen Tate, Katy Secombe and Joanna Ampil I have reviewed on several occasions before but all gave excellent performances.
The lighting seems to have become generally more darker but also more focussed, picking out and highlighting faces rather than a whole scene, creating the atmosphere with shadows as much as light. In Empty Chairs Marius’ face is lit in a warm light as behind in a colder and smoky atmosphere the dead students stand watching – the impression of the two words side by side for that moment is clearly created. At the moment of death for Fantine and Eponine the light around them turned momentarily to white giving a sense of a soul departing.
As it comes to 20 years Les Miz still shows it is neither tired or coming to the end of it’s London life.
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