Les Miserables - 27th October 1999

In conjunction with the Les Miserables Masterclass I was attending at the time we went to see Les Miserables. Although I only saw the show in February there have been quite a few changes in the main cast and most of the ensemble. Les Miz in London is still a joy to watch and over the past few years the quality of the show just seems to increase. There are some very strong leads at the moment.

John Owen Jones is an excellent Valjean and seems to have fitted even more into the role since I last saw him. He is gentle yet authorative Valjean, his voice isn't over powerful but extremely effective and is perfect for the role. He is certainly becoming one of my favourite Valjeans along with Stig Rossen.

I last saw Hal Fowler as Arnaud du Thil and so was interested to see what he made of Javert and I can say I was impressed. He played the part extremely well capturing the character and his emotions. I particularly liked his confrontation scenes with Valjean after Fantine's death and at the end of the sewers.

Gunilla was a good Fantine but nothing speical in the role as compared with Silvie Paladino. I don't feel there was a connection between her and Valjean which would be strengthened by her coming to take him to heaven. She sang the part well although I do feel her accent came through a bit too strongly at times but her 'Come to Me' was lovely and in her face she captured Fantine's emotions and joy in believing she was seeing Cosette.

Amanda Salmon once again gave a wonderful performance as Eponine. She is very much a tomboy Eponine and I noticed she has stamped her own interpreation of Eponine with just some small gestures which were very effective. A Little Fall of Rain was just beautiful and Tom Lucas proved again his ability to play an excellent Marius. He comes across, when we first meet him, as a very young Marius, treating the revolution as a boys game which is not perhaps that serious but only when his Eponine is killed does the seriousness of the situation and that they all could die become a reality to him. His grief at her death was evident as his placed his head on Enjolras' knee in tears and Enjolras just put a reassuring hand on his head. I enjoyed Rebecca Vere's Cosette a lot more this time. I feel as she has captured a bit more of Cosette's true spirit.

Cameron Blakely and Joanna Mays didn't to anything for me as the Thenardiers, I found their interpretations rather flat. I didn't feel as though had put their own stamp on the characters and just played them extremely ordinarily, neither comic or nasty enough

While David Malek had a fine voice for Enjolras I felt he was too clean cut and wholesome. He didn't bring over enough the aura of a leadership or admiration for the cause. I didn't feel he was brought Enjolras' dedication enough.

The staging of the final battle is still one of my favorite bits, the slow motion effects are just fantastic and also in 'Empty Cahairs at Empty Tables' the way the ghosts just melted into the mist was so effective.

Overall an excellent show, this cast is very strong at the moment and although some of the interpreations are not entirely to my liking the performances are good. It is worth seeing at the moment for the performances of John Owen Jones, Amanda Salmon and Tom Lucas.

Back to reviews