Ex-convict Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
I’ve recently really got into YouTube and one of the YouTubers I’ve been watching is Carrie Hope Fletcher who has been playing the role of Eponine in the London production of Les Mis for the last 2.5 years. Her tenure at the show is now over but I really wanted to see her in the role before she left so a couple of friends and I got the cheapest tickets we could find to see it in her final week. Of course this meant that we were right up at the back of the gods and our view wasn’t the best but having see the movie version (and not being a huge fan) I wasn’t really sure what I would think of the show.
With a run time of 3 hours I think the depressing subject matter throughout is what made this show a bit of a slog for me personally, sure there is some light relief in the form of Master of the House (by far my favourite number from the show) I mean I guess the clue is in the name… There are so many intertwined storylines that I found it difficult to keep on top of what was happening to whom. The music was of course key to the whole show and I thought the performances were very strong – Carrie’s was just as excellent as I was expecting with a voice that was crisp and clear even from right at the top of the theatre.
It’s been running for 30 yeas straight and so many people list Les Miserables as one of their top West End shows so it must be doing something right but for some reason it just doesn’t work for me. I will admit though that the live version of the story has a lot more heart than the film version and I felt more of a connection to the characters – the strength of the actors singing voices is also ten times better as you would expect from a cast performing the same routine night after night.