LES MISERABLES - LONDON CAST REVIEW 15.6.96

(as sent to the Frances Ruffelle & Les Miserables mailing lists)

I'm duly reporting back from seeing Frances. Well it is hard to find enough words to describe her performance - brilliant, fantastic, superb - do I need to go on ? She surpassed every Eponine I have ever seen and I have seen some excellent Eponines in the past, Linzi Hateley, Meredith Braun, Silvie Paladino ...., and I know why Frances won all those awards. Her interpretation and emotion just flowed naturally. Her joy everytime Marius noticed her, her tears when he leaves her to go to Cosette in the garden. Small touches of her performance just made it, she didn't just sing the words but expressed their meaning.

Example: In Eponine's Errand you can feel her realisation of who Cosette was. In 'In My Life' Marius briefly touched her shoulder and as she sang 'waiting here' her hand touched her shoulder where his hand had been imagining he was there still. When he saw her 'At the Barricade' she was proud to be there with him. Little things like that made her performance special.

On my Own was beautiful but the highlight had to be 'A Little fall of rain'. Her and Mario Frangoulis could have wrung the hardest heart. Her pain was so real and her happiness at being in his arms. I must mention Mario - his realisation of her feelings 'I'll sleep in your embrace at last' and especially after she died he folded her arms and hugged her close to him sobbing and by this time so was I. He very reluctantly let them take her off. As you can guess I can't fault her performance.

Her voice has matured and is a little lower and quite different form the recordings.

A final bonus was seeing her at stage door, she was shorter than I expected and has lost all her long hair for a bob.

Everytime I go I get more from the show. Sharon - thanks for the student special I specially watched the relationships and hadn't noticed previously that Grantaire didn't fight (an excellent James Barron) just didn't know what to do but ran up the barricade as soon as Enjolras is shot.

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