Capital contrasts 3: an old favourite in London

Les Miserables may be a cliche, tourist fodder, a pillar of establishment, but still a work of genius. After all these years it never fails to impress that Hugo’s masterpiece was so brilliantly and succinctly distilled for the musical stage.

Succintly, at nearly three hours? Yes, how many months did it take YOU to read the original?

There’s a new and young cast who bring a very robust dynamic to the show this season. I’ve long been critical of the casting of Marius as a slightly wet behind the ears teenager (Nick Jonas, Gareth Gates) but at last Paul Wilkins plays him as a man of substance; intellectual, romantic, but no lightweight.

And the same must certainly be said for Killian Donnelly, one of the youngest Valjeans who has risen to this particular challenge like a colossus. And no one has bettered his vocal range into old age; he didn’t just look like an old man, he sounded like one.

Robust is also the word for our two new leading ladies, joining the delightful Charlotte Kennedy as Cosette. Karis Jack (Eponine)  and Carley Stenson (Fantine) have glorious voices and are strong character actors , almost too strong to die young and poorly, Fantine.

It was especially good to see a young family friend Jonny Purchase, a familiar Marius cover, standing in tonight as Enjolras and doing so with power and passion. We rather like the new Thenardier, too, Steven Meo bringing the necessary undertone of menace to the comic facade.

They were, as always, playing to a packed house, many of them clearly tourists. But discerning ones; they will not be disappointed.


3 thoughts on “Capital contrasts 3: an old favourite in London

  1. mphadventuregirl

    Les Mis is such a masterpiece: book and the musical are wonderful. I saw two stage Les Mis casts: the first being a community college production, which was phenomenal and the second being the West End cast from two years ago with Adam Bayjou (understudy) as Valjean. My love of Les Mis began with the movie and eventually the stage version made me love it even more and the book had the same effect


    1. cumbriapr Post author

      Thank you for your comments. I too saw Adam Bayjou as Valjean; I thought he was one of the best ever. My son was in the show for 12 months, as swing, during that time. I’ve seen it countless times, and it never fails to excite.


      1. mphadventuregirl

        I first experienced Les Mis through the movie.

        It was after the community college production that I knew I just had to see Les Mis in the West End.

        The moment I realized I was going to be seeing it there I ran to my mom and I was crying. I have no words for that cast and they are quite a special one considering the fact that I was living a dream.

        Now, it is touring the US and I hope to catch the production a fifth time. Sometimes I am asked why am I not tried of it and there is no way to say. There is just something about Les Mis that will always impress you and it is so powerful and complex and it did challenge the way I view musicals forever


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