LES MISERABLES IN CONCERT - HYLANDS PARK, CHELMSFORD, 24.8.97

Sunday was the day for the Les Miz concert and what a wonderful day it was. Firstly it was great to meet up with list members (the Les Miserables mailing list) again and secondly we had such a good position in the centre of the stage very near the front. Arriving at 3.00, the concert started at 7.00, I had expected only a few people to be there yet it was packed already, I worked my way down to the front and sat and listened to the rehearsal which was going on already. In a way a double treat to see the evening concert and to see the rehearsal aswell.

At 5.30 we were allowed into the front arena and staked out our plot in readiness. The atmosphere was wonderful and to be with fellow fans makes it all the better. The concert was delayed by 30 minutes to get everyone in, around 25,000 people, but at 7.30 we were off. The format was very similar to the Tenth Anniversary Concert (TAC) with only one slight cut which was noticeable to me. So to the performances:

Now I am a huge Frances Ruffelle fan and to me she is Eponine. At times her voice was very husky and then so powerful. If you have been privileged enough to see her you'll know that this lady has a voice which absolutely drips with emotion and could wring anyone’s heart with her 'In my life, there is someone who touches my life' A stunning On my Own and a heart wrenching Little Fall of Rain, this was the performance of the concert for me

Ruthie's Fantine was brilliant, I preferred her performance here to the TAC one and she gave us a very emotional performance and in particular for me 'Come to me’ and how she kept on the note at the end of 'to love another person' was incredible.

I saw Annalene Beechey's Cosette in March and she was so lovely then and here she recreated her enchanting Cosette.

Having seen Gay Soper for the first 4 visits to Les Miz in the early 90's is was great to see her again in the role. She and Chris Langham worked well together, particularly in the Thenardier Waltz and Chris performed one of his trademark 'darling Colette'. A uproaring Master of the House brought a huge cheer from the crowd

Michael McCarthy is my second favourite Javert after Philip Quast and I have had the pleasure of seeing him several times in London. He nearly stopped the concert with his Stars and the Suicide.

Of all the principals Matt Cammelle was the only one I hadn't seen in an actual production. I liked his Marius, although I wouldn't say he was my favourite interpretation, but his Empty Chairs was excellent and he does have a wonderful voice. He worked very well with David Bardsley who's voice was outstanding and his cry 'they will come when we call' would have roused anyone to fight with him.

Adam Searles performed as Gavroche again, a slimmer version of Adam now and slightly taller but having the advantage of age over many Gavroches, yet still not looking too old, he gave a very confident and somewhat cheeky performance !!. Carly Peaston-Jones was a very pretty Cosette and Sang Castle on a cloud very well, a daunting task to sing in front of @ 25,000 people.

James Barron was an excellent Grantaire in London and here he recreated the role with the same style and grace !!! as before.

Finally to Jeff Leyton, now he is not my favourite Valjean, but then I haven't really got a fave as I'm not a Valjean person, he sang very well and I must say his Bring Him Home was beautiful but for me he did the job but I would have preferred Phil Cavill up there. He must have been nervous aswell as he messed up two cues which threw the other singers out for a while.
The encore was as in the TAC with a firework display to follow. The only cut I remember was 'In my life' when they didn't do Cosette and Valjean together.

I understand it has been filmed for Sky TV so someday, sometime, somewhere everyone should see a copy of this concert which was fantastic : )

Postscript: Unfortunately the sound on the video was faulty and so the video will never be released : )