Based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Miserables transports the audience to the bloody French revolution between rebellious Parisian students and the state. Despite the weighty context for a musical, the story of an ex-convict Jean Valjean pursued by Inspector Javert, intertwined with a love story has proven to be one of the most successful musicals of all time.
From the opening number, the talent of the cast is fully displayed. The power and emotion of their vocals belies their years. Max Reid’s Jean Valjean was mature and confident, effortlessly mastering the notoriously difficult ‘Bring Him Home’ with ease. His controlled style completely absorbed him in this complex character. Gordon Horne’s strong and determined characterization commanded the stage menacingly as the relentless Javert, fulfilling the demanding role with true style. I particularly enjoyed the outstanding performances from Rachel Coll as Fantine and Meg Laird-Drummond as Eponine. Both girls professionally executed their songs, which were a true match to their wonderful acting skills.
Liam Forrester as Marius and Constanza Cecchetti as Cosette were ideal as the young lovers. Constanza’s voice was pitch perfect in a lovely rendition of ‘A Heart Full of Love’ and Liam’s emotionally charged ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’ provoked a few shed tears from the audience. The enlivened revolution leader Enjolras was enthusiastically played by Tom Mullins whose performance of ‘Do you Hear the People Sing’ was a predictable crowd pleaser. Aidan Cross embraces the cheeky chappy attitude of Gavroche to great effect, earning a few chuckles from the audience. The Thernardiers excellently handled the diminutive comedy aspects, with Sandy Bain and Sylvia Cowie providing some much needed comic relief.
The production team did not let this bunch of young performers down, with director Sally Lyall allowing their talent to shine through at all times. The stage management was well organised, with setting seamlessly positioned by the cast. It is therefore a testament to these fine performers that despite a few pitching problems and fluffed lines, my only nit picking criticism was the cast did not look scruffy enough in the ensemble scenes. That being said, it did not detract from my enjoyment of such a fine performance.