Les Misérables has recently clocked past 25 years of stage shows. Easily one of the popular stage shows available today Les Misérables follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean as he escapes his parole for a petty crime he comitted 9 years prior. If you have not seen Les Misérables you really should go, its definitely a stage show you must see.
Now in celebration of the 25 year mark Cameron MacKintosh and Universal Pictures teamed up to film the show infront of a packed O2 Audience. To make this something even extra special they have assembled a very very stunning group of performers. Alfie Boe takes the lead as Jean Valjean and his performance is probably one of the best I’ve seen. Paired up with Norm Lewis (Javert, the lawman hunting down Jean Valjean) their scenes are very impressive.
Now it might be worth making a note here about just how different this performance is from others. I’ve only typically seen Les Misérables in a theater setting, with the performers interacting with each other. What throws you about the O2 performance is that there is, at the beginning especially, very little onstage interaction making the performance more narrative than on stage story. This is especially noticable with scenes between Jean Valjean and Javert.
This is in no way criticism of the presentation. At first i found it a little odd, however both Alfie and Norm carry this style off with expert precision. The emotion and passion of each scene is even richer for the style. To add to this style the stage has three distinct video screens, which is used exceptionally well to frame each major on scene character.
Amongst the really talented cast is Nick Jonas and Matt Lucas, not normally two people you would see on stage if you were not in the know. Both of these guys delivered an exceptional performance. Perhaps Nick’s pop background probably was more apparent amongst the incredible onstage voices of the likes of Alfie Boe and Kaite Hall, but his ability to play the part of Marius was in no way diminished.
The highlights of the night would have to be Matt Lucas & Jenny Galloway playing their parts as Thénardier and Madame Thénardier. These scenes were extremely comical and provided some great stage and audience interaction. Matt Lucas certainly has much more talent than his “Little Britain” shows have demonstrated.
Finally the most impressive part of the show was the extras. After the cast had taken its final bow on an exceptionally good presentation, the original cast from 1985 was invited on stage to a rapturous welcome. But it didn’t stop there; They then performed a number of popular key tunes from the show, eventually joined by their 2010 counterparts. The icing on the cake was a reprise of Jean Vajean’s “Bring him home” by 4 different leading men since 1985. The extras at the end was worth the price of the box set alone, which is saying alot considering the caliber of the show to start with.
If you have been a fan of Les Mis you simply must see this screening. It will leave you singing the songs for weeks.
Reviewed by: Urbankiwi