Les Miserables, Queen's Theatre | Review

Les Miserables

04/07/19
Queen’s Theatre
Reviewed by Mia Goddard
★★★★★
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, ‘Les Miserables’ tells the story of prisoner Jean Valjean who breaks parole, as he runs from Inspector Javert on a journey beyond the barricades. Meanwhile, the life of a working class girl, Fantine, is at turning point as she turns to prostitution to pay money to the innkeeper and his wife who look after her child, Cosette. Valjean tries to help Fantine and promises to take care of the child, eventually leading to a love triangle between Cosette, Marius who is a student of the rebellion, and Eponine, a girl of the streets. The people sing of their anger and Enjolras leads the students to fight upon the barricades.
Dean Chisnall gave an incredible performance as the musical’s lead Jean Valjean; singing the audience seamlessly through his character’s transition from youth to death. The role is undoubtedly one of the most difficult in musical theatre, but Chisnall was brilliant.
Bradley Jaden is the most perfect Javert. His voice is beautiful and consistent in timbre and fullness from top to bottom. Every phrase is precise and perfectly sung whilst totally in character. Stars is electrifying and his Soliloquy is stunning in dramatic musical performance. He is totally in character at every moment, and when he emerges from the shadows, or disappears into them, his presence either precedes or lingers. You never forget about him.

Carley Stenson as the troubled Fantine also gave excellent performance. Her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream was stunning and demonstrated the character’s heartbreak perfectly; a stand-out moment of the show.

Elena Skye made an excellent Eponine. Her voice is gorgeous and she is not afraid to sing softly to great effect. Her character is so well established and interpretation of On My Own is very affective. Charlotte Kennedy made a beautiful Cosette. Her voice is simply stunning, making her instantly watchable. Toby Miles as Marius has an excellent stage presence and a wonderful baritone as Empty Chairs at Empty Tables is beautiful. The trio’s song A Heart Full Of Love was performed beautifully, helped by a cleverly revolving stage to show the unlucky-in-love Éponine watching from behind a gate as her two fellow performers sing about how much they love each other. Marius’ friendship and allegiance to Enjolras, played by Samuel Edwards, is also firmly established. Edwards has great charisma and style and there is no doubting his conviction about the need for revolution.
As Thenardier, Steven Meo brings a fresh jollity to the role, but is unafraid to be extremely malevolent and vicious when necessary. Vivien Parry makes an immensely enjoyable Madame Thenardier. The comedy alongside Meo in Master of the House was perfectly played and the pair are so utterly in sync.
Callum Hudson as young Gavroche is a wonderful young performer and has a real future in the musical theatre industry with his charm and wit.
The entire principle cast and ensemble made the story, music and lyrics of this musical classic come to life before my eyes in a way that cannot be replicated by watching on screen. Minimal scenery was used; the music and vocals were all that was necessary to transport the audience to 19th century France. The Queen’s Theatre has an intimate feel to it, and this added to the realism of the production. All in all, the venue was perfect in allowing the orchestra’s sound and the performer’s voices to fill the auditorium from the stalls to the upper circle.
I am delighted I was able to see the current production of Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre one last time before it changes and am looking forward to watching the concert version playing at the Gielgud very soon!