Magnificent Les Mis
Cameron Mackintosh Productions
Festival Theatre Edinburgh JANUARY 23rd 2019
As a writer just sometimes you come up against a show which causes you many problems when attempting to write a review. I mean come on, when you think about just what could I possibly write which has not already been written countless times before and by many much more qualified or eloquent than I? Oh to hell with it I’m just going to do what feels correct. There can’t be many people who do not know the story behind this show. How it was almost universally slated by critics when it first hit the stage of Barbican way back in 1985. However to paraphrase part of Victor Hugo’s novel the public rose up and took Les Mis’ to their collective hearts with the result that it is now beyond doubt the most successful musical of all time. This was my third time of seeing the stage show and by far this particular production is the best ever for me. The physical set, lighting effects and costumes were at once familiar and yet refreshed. The orchestra sound and cast vocals where I was sitting were absolutely crystal clear so a great job all round by the audio crew. The statistics surrounding this show are staggering for example did you know that there are over forty different cast recordings available? There are 392 complete costumes and 31 wigs and each night it takes approximately 101cast and crew to stage Les Mis’ in each of the 42 different official productions currently running worldwide. How crazy is that? So back to Edinburgh last week and this fabulous show. There are too many superlatives I could use to say what is in my mind. Instead I’ll restrict myself to saying that the cast were absolutely wonderful throughout. Killian Donnelly and Nic Greenshields star as Valjean and Javert plus Katie Hall as Fantine, Joining them on stage were Sophie-Louise Dann as Madame Thénardier, Martin Ball as Thénardier, Harry Apps as Marius, Tegan Bannister as Eponine, Will Richardson as Enjolras and Bronwen Hanson as Cosette. The ensemble throughout are so strong and it was kind of interesting to pick out who would be understudy for the principles should the need arise. Let me tell you there was real strength in depth to be found in the ensemble. I freely admit to becoming more than a little bit emotionally connected with the performances and yes I had to wipe away the odd tear here and there. Thunderous was the rightful response from the Festival Theatre audience to what we all witnessed. Seldom if ever have I come out from a theatre production really and truly wishing I had another ticket for the next show. It will be patently obvious to you all that I loved this production. True it was not cheap to go at £65 a pop for my tickets but when you sit later reflecting on what you got for your money it was truly great value and a fabulous night out. Now where did I put the CD version? I need another fix!