Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this acclaimed new production of LES MISÉRABLES in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary it has taken the world by storm continuing to enjoy record-breaking runs in countries including North America, Australia, Japan, Korea, France and Spain. Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent iconic score of LES MISÉRABLES includes the classic songs, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master Of The House and many more. Several of its songs have become real life anthems of revolution wherever in the world people are fighting for their freedom. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, LES MISÉRABLES is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular and contemporary musicals. Cameron Mackintosh’s production of LES MISÉRABLES is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Orchestrations are by Stephen Metcalfe, Christopher Jahnke and Stephen Brooker with original orchestrations by John Cameron. The production is directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, musical staging by Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garratt, and music supervision by Stephen Brooker and Alfonso Casado Trigo.
Joining the previously announced Dean Chisnall as ‘Jean Valjean’, Nic Greenshields as ‘Javert’ and Katie Hall as ‘Fantine’ will be Ian Hughes as ‘Thénardier’, Will Callan as ‘Marius’, Nathania Ong as ‘Eponine’, Helen Walsh as ‘Madame Thénardier’, Barnaby Hughes as ‘Enjolras’ and Paige Blankson as ‘Cosette’.
I’m convinced that this Cameron Mackintosh production of Les Misérables is the show of the year for the Milton Keynes Theatre and possibly the majority of the theatres this glorious cast will have visited by the end of their tour. Everything about the production is as perfect as I’ve seen. The sound and lighting are so good that you hardly notice them, the sets are huge, spectacular, complicated, realistic – and work like a dream! Brilliant work by director James Powell ably assisted I’m sure by resident director Jo Parsons, meant that there was never a moment with nothing going on and if you took a still shot at any moment you just know you’d get a perfect shot like a beautiful painting.
I’m afraid to mention the cast by name because right from the first few seconds when some of the boatmen had solos to sing, right to the finale you couldn’t fault any of them. But special mention must got to Will Barratt standing in on the night I went in the part of Jean Valjean with a faultless performance. Will Callan as Marius making his professional debut is quite a find and I’m sure will have a busy career from this show on. Playing the only character in the story that gets little sympathy from the audience but with a stunning solo ”Stars” that almost brought the house down was experienced singer/actor Nic Greenshields, a very fine and powerful foil for Jean Valjean. Always popular are innkeeper Thénardier and Madame Thénardier thank goodness Cameron Mackintosh persuaded Ian Hughes & Helen Walsh two of the best in the business to play these rascals. Just when you need a little light relief, along comes Master of the House taking the place by storm. Wonderful performances. But then we were treated to fine performances from every single person on that stage, I wish I had the space to mention everyone of this cast.
All in all, the best night at the theatre since the anniversary tour of Phantom of the Opera and I’m not at all sure that this production didn’t top that one! I can’t really believe there are people left who’ve not seen Les Mis yet but if you haven’t – or even if you’ve seen all the previous versions, get along to see this!
I don’t believe this production of Les Misérables will ever be bettered!
Les Misérables plays Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 21 May with tickets from £13. General bookings: 0844 871 7615*; Access bookings: 0333 009 5399; Group bookings: 0207 206 1174, ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes*