Les Millénniables

A classic story for a modern age, Les Millénniables is a self-aware and uniting musical, because it satirizes the generational divide, and understands its own ridiculous nature. It captures the millennial experiences and hard truths that we have to come to terms with.

Completely worth the watch

Les Millénniables is loosely based and parodies the world-renowned Les Misérables, taking Victor Hugo’s story of struggle, redemption and human good, and applying it to the modern day struggles of millennials. Narrated by Gavroche (Chandra East), the story starts with the newly graduated Jean Valjean (Natalie Sullivan) trying to find a job that will pay enough to pay off their student loans and emotionally fulfil them.

The story progresses to cover the events of the entire novel and explores the challenges faced by the millennial generation that features experiences like crippling student debt, burnout, navigating the gig economy and Hinge, all of which is accompanied by a fun pop soundtrack with the occasional lyric change to better fit the show’s context. What this musical does really well is creating lighting states that fit the song and adds a kind of cinematic energy to the performance. Les Millénniables is very carefully crafted, because each character within this musical retains the inherent role and characterisation central to Hugo’s stories, so it remains true to the overall spirit of the novel and musical. However, by the time we get to the Les Amis de l’ABC it feels like the creative team was reaching a little for how they could lower the stakes in a musical based on a book that – whilst about universal themes like fighting for equality, liberty and fraternity – has a lot of intense human suffering that don't quite translate into a comedy. They do try to keep in the spirit of the novel; people ‘die’ by burning out, Fantine (Ayla Glass) is a gig worker and Javert (Tony Gonzalez).

As a parody, Les Millénniables is very well done, as it keeps in the spirit of the novel but is different enough to remain interesting. Completely worth the watch.

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Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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The Blurb

Very loosely based on Les Misérables, Les Millénniables is a pop parody about the plight of the generation deemed “millennials". In our story, our millennial protagonist, Jean Valjean, must navigate a world where dreams are dashed by student loan debt. Valjean must find a way to thrive whilst being relentlessly pursued by the ruthless debt collector and Boomer, Javert. Written by two established (but sad) Hollywood female comedy writers of colour and featuring hit songs from our yesteryears, won’t you join in our crusade... against our millennial woes?

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