#BrumHour was invited to see Les Misérables by Birmingham Hippodrome.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, Concept, book and original Lyrics by Alain Boubil, Book and music by Claude-Michel Shonberg, Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Digne, France 1815: Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean (Killian Donnelly) after numerous attempted escapes finds himself free of custody and prison guard Javert (Nic Greenshields).
Les Misérables at
1823: Its eight years later and Jean Valjean is now town Mayor and a factory owner in Montreuil-sur-mer, He’s using the name Mr Madeline, the female factory workers are trying to force the dismissal of Fantaine (Katie Hall) as she has an illegitimate, daughter Cosette (Isla Gie), they achieve this and Fantaine finds herself in prostitution and gets into a fight with a potential client. Now a police officer, Javert arrives on the scene as does Valjean, there is a sense of recognition between the two. Fantine passes away and Valjean sets out to become guardian to Cosette who is staying with publican Thenardier (Martin Ball) and his wife (Sophie-Louise Dean) and Eponine (Lilly-Faith Grainger), at first they resist letting him take Cosette until he blinds them with money.
Nine years later: 1832, Paris. Eponine (now Tegan Bannister) who only has eyes for Marius (Harry Apps) find themselves at the home of Valjean and the young woman Marius only has eyes for who turns out to be Cosette (now Bronwen Hanson) but
Thenardier has come looking for more repayments.
This SOLD OUT production of Les Misérables is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 11th May before returning 30th June to 18th July 2020 (Tickets go on general sale Friday 12th April) and I cannot stress how great it is!!
Shows like Les Misérables are the reason I love musical theatre so much and the main reason I got into writing about theatre for this website in the first place.
Almost cinematic, from prologue to the curtain down this is an exhilarating spectacle with great song after song driving the extensive plot forward, in fact I think only one line in the production is spoken rather than sung.
Theatre is all about production choices and lets get my only real niggle out of the way. Is this set in the South London part of 19th century France? The working class accents seem to suggest so..
Killian Donnelly shines as Jean Valjean in this hugely talented group of performers and Tegan Bannister is fantastic with her misplaced love for Marius.
The digital moving canvases that make up the backdrop are beautifully realised, smoking chimneys, movement in the water and underground tunnels. Then there’s the sets, the three story buildings on both sides of the stage move in to make entire buildings at various points, there’s a huge cart partly crushing a man on the stage, and a huge battlefront. The huge stage is filled with crowds and suddenly empty in seconds with just one actor on stage and really pulls the audience in closer.
This is a 3 hour production with a 90 minute first act and just a 15 minute interval so useful to plan bathroom breaks carefully. I wanted to sing (badly) along throughout most of this but resisted.
There are only single seats or some side box seats (with restricted views of the stage) left for this run of Les Misérables which is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 11th May: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/les-miserables
But fear not, mon amies, for it was announced Les Misérables will return to Birmingham Hippodrome in Summer 2020! Make sure you book tickets which are on sale to the general public from Friday 12th April at 11am: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/les-miserables-2
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour