After nearly a decade since the last sell-out UK tour, Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Les Misérables comes to the Festival Theatre.
This brilliant new staging has taken the world by storm and has been hailed “Les Mis for the 21st Century”. With scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, the magnificent score of Les Misérables includes the songs ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘On My Own’, ‘Bring Him Home’, ‘One Day More’, ‘Master of The House’ and many more. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 45 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals.
The atmosphere in Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre was almost tangible as anticipation built to see this beloved and popular musical. As soon as the lights dimmed and the live orchestra suddenly came alive, it was clear that this production had successfully captured the revolutionary spirit of Les Misérables.
Passionate performances led the production as Killian Donnelly, portraying Jean Valjean, Nic Greenshields, as Javert, and Katie Hall, a moving Fantine, displayed their incredibly powerful voices. Each memorable musical number was delivered with such vigour and was met with rousing applause.
Particular mention goes to Greenshields who expertly manoeuvres between Javert’s savage obsession with upholding the law and his tragic realisation that those laws have been unjust. Everything, from his rich, operatic singing to the way he holds himself when confronting Valjean, is utterly convincing and reminds the audience of how Javert should be portrayed in Les Mis.
Although Monsieur and Madame Thénardier provide the comic relief, it was difficult at times to hear the words they were singing. The voice put on by Mme Thénardier did add to her distasteful character, but resulted in most of her lines being lost.
There is always a part of me that worries that big productions on tour will be unable to recreate the impressive staging of their original theatres. However, that was not the case for Les Mis, or at least the loss was not obvious. The barricade was a striking structure and the production’s clever use of lighting, pyrotechnics and surround sound to create the battle scenes completely immersed the audience, making it all the more dramatic and desperate. An especially creative touch was the use of paintings inspired by those of Victor Hugo as backdrops, which help place the story in its literary context and highlight the bleak environment of the characters on stage.
The Paris Uprising is brought to life by the bold Enjolras, played with such brio by Will Richardson, and supported superbly by the ensemble cast. Each emotion is amplified by the exhilarating live orchestra and the audience is made to feel a part of the revolution. So join the insurgents and get to the barricade while Les Misérables plays at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre until Saturday 16 February.
By Kim Ford for Love Books Group
TUE 22 JAN TO SAT 16 FEB 2019
2pm Sundays, 2.30pm Thursdays, Saturdays and Wednesday 13 Feb, 7.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays
Running time (approx.): 2 hours 55 minutes (Inc. 15 minute interval)
BOX OFFICE: 0131 529 6000
BOX OFFICE: 0131 529 6000