This long running musical is a firm favourite with West End audiences. Based on the Victor Hugo novel it takes place in Paris at a time of revolution and anger. This is no light hearted musical, it tough gritty plot and stirring music puts the audience in atmospheric Paris through wonderful staging and use of a revolve on the stage - more of that later.
There are classic songs such as "I dreamed a dream" and "Bring him home". The plot intertwines the lives of various characters from the on the ex convict Jean Valjean, to the love story between Marius and Cosette, and the comedic rascals the Thénardiers, right down the over keen youngster Gavroche, through this troubled time in history.
Personally, although much loved by millions, I thought this to be fairly average, and at times very drawn out. The last 30mins seemed to drag terribly. The barricade set is well used, but I do feel they over use the revolve in the centre of the stage way too much. At times it felt like the show was very disjointed with people getting on the revolve to sing then without much happening the revolve spins round and theres another person randomly standing on the stage. The cast must get very dizzy going round and round all evening.
I did enjoy it and was glad I saw it, but think I was expecting more. Les Miserables is currently on at the Queens Theatre, nearest tubes Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus or mainline trains Charing Cross. For ticket and time info www.lesmis.com
Les Miserables is, in my opinion, undoubtedly the best musical in the West End. I have seen it at least ten times (yes, obsessed I know) and it never fails to move me and excite me.
Unlike many musicals that often have a weak story arranged around a strong musical score, I find that Les Mis has both a strong story with an equally strong musical arrangement. Although its true to say that neither the story or the music is of the typical happy clappy "jazz hands" genre, the songs and story line are all the more memorable because of this.
Although Les Mis is often criticised for being "too miserable", I have to strongly disagree. The story focusses on the life of Jean Valjean and all of the ups and downs that accompany this man on his journey. Yes, there is tragedy along the way, but there is also the recurrent theme of triumph over adversity and how one man impacted the life of so many. There is also comedy intermingled with the drama in the form of the "Master of the House" and his revolting wife who provide no shortage of laughs and are responsible for the more light hearted moments of the show.
Its the 25th year anniversary of Les Mis this year which makes it the longest running continuous musical in the world and I believe its longevity and popularity is testament enough to its brilliance. As I said, I've seen this production at least ten times, and at the end of the performance I still have tears streaming down my face and cannot wait to jump to my feet to show my appreciation.
Do you hear the people sing?
Musicals tend to fall into two categories - the profoundly intense with strong orchestral and vocal arrangements and the blithely cheesey and happy - still with good music but in a different league. Les Miserables would have to top the first of the two categories but would be so far away at the top it's practically in a league of its own.
I have been lucky enough to see this musical twice and on both times I have sobbed like a baby. The powerful music, the strong characters and the tense situation at the barricades results in an emotional rollercoaster. Every time I hear the strains of "Do you hear the people sing", I want to stand up and wave a French flag and march on down to the streets.
The story of Les Mis (for short) is based on the popular Victor Hugo novel of the same name. The musical is pretty true to the novel, leaving out only the incredibly long descriptions in the book.
The musical starts in the prison where prisoner 24601, aka Jean Valjean is serving 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. It is in the prison that he first meets Javert. He is released on parole, where he finds no one wants to hire an ex-con. Offered shelter for the night at a Priest's, he runs away, stealing their silver. Caught by the police, he is brought back to the priest, who lies to the police and tells them he gave them as a present. He gives Jean some extra silver but warns him to take this chance and do good with his life. Jean follows the priest's advice and ends up owning a mill and becoming mayor. He tries to live his live as a good citizen but his loyalty is tested when Javert informs him that the notorious 24601 has been caught.
The story weaves around Valjean and his adopted daughter Cosette, Marius, who is in love with Cossette and Javert who has made it his mission to track down Valjean and bring him to justice. Meanwhile the students are spilling out onto the streets in protest at the government.
The music of Les Mis is extremely clever. The whole musical is performed in song and relies on several different melodies each repeated. Every one of the songs is a brilliant performance, from Fantine's painful lament "I dreamed a dream", to the student's revolutionary songs and Eponine's song of unrequited love "On my Own". As well as solo and duets, there are several group performances, "At the end of the day" and my personal favourite "One day more".
The London performance relies on simple and bare stage scenery which at the same time is highly effective. The recent tour has a more elaborate background and set but it works just as well.
There is good reason for this musical being the longest running. It truly is worth watching and will have you spell bound from beginning to end. Make sure you take lots of tissues!
This year brings us the 25th anniversary year of the musical stage version of Les Miserables. As it is an important anniversary, Les Miserables will be running for a limited time at BOTH the Queen's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue AND at the Barbican, This is the only musical to be shown at two London theatres at the same time.
In my opinion Les Miserables is the most incredible show I have ever seen and probably ever will. For me it has everything and, when I have accrued enough DooYoo miles I will be taking my family to see it again.
Les Miserables is based upon the novel by Victor Hugo, which he wrote in 1862. The novel is quite heavy going but worth a try as it depicts a turbulent time in French history, post revolution and a very unsettled era.
Cameron Mackintosh's production of the musical version has lyrics written by Herbert Kretzmer and music composed by Claude- Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil.
There are no spoken words in this show, which was a concern...until the show started and I was enraptured from the start. I would strongly suggest though that you have some understanding of the story line before watching Les Mis, as I think this makes it much easier to digest and enjoy. It isn't complicated once you are familiar with the main characters. Then let the beautiful music flow through you and you won't even notice the lack of dialogue.
The story begins with Jean Valjean , on parole from prison. He was in captivity after being caught stealing a loaf of bread. He has his prison number tatooed on him (Prisoner 24601!) and will find it difficult to live an honest life with the prejudice and poverty that abounds. Valjean is given shelter and food by a kindly bishop but ends up making off with the silver. He is caught but fortunately the benevolent bishop defends him by saying that it was a gift. Following this Valjean vows that he will repay this kindness by redeeming himself by doing good. He assumes anew identity so that he can live a new and honest life, and help others. The problem Javert, the policeman, is determined to catch him out. He doesn't keep to the terms of his parole as feels he will not be treated fairly and cannot then help others.
A little further along, through ignorance he wrongs Fantine, who is struggling to support her illegitimate daughter, Cosette. I don't want to give too much away, although, I knew the story before I went and I think that's the best way but for those who would rather discover the plot along the way I'll try simply to give an understanding from hereon.
Jean Valjean promises to care for Cosette and acts as her parent. They adore each other. We now follow the lives through the music and song of these characters and more. Eponine is suffering with unrequited love for Marius and she sings the heart rending song, 'On my own'. I love each and every song in this musical for it's own worth and the way the music ties in and blends so wonderfully. The best known must be, 'I dreamed a dream' sung by Fantine, 'Empty Chairs' sung by Marius and 'Bring Him Home' sung by Valjean. Some songs are quite comical and a little rude. The Inkeeper and his wife, The Thenardiers, are awful but comical.This is definitely an adult musical, apart from those teenagers obsessed with musicals, such as my daughter.
I went to see this musical last August as a special treat for my sixteen year old, who had just obtained her GCSE results. She loves musicals and hopes to have a career in them so, after her hard work I believed a treat was well deserved. I booked the seats direct with the theatre and as it was short notice collected them from the box office (If you do this you MUST remember to take along the credit or debit card used to book the tickets to redeem them). I paid a little over £60 for each ticket plus booking fee. I think this is an extortionate amount but, as this musical is so special to her I wanted the visit to be memorable, so wanted good seats. I can't remember if we had row D or E but it was one of those and centre of the row. I was very lucky to get these seats as they were perfect. I think someone must have cancelled. We were close enough to be able to see the expressions on the actors faces but not so close as too get a stiff neck I would recommend if seeing any show to first visit www.theatremonkey.com and view a seating plan and read past theatre goers opinions on particular seats. Although it's expensive I would pay this again as it was so special.
I marvelled at this show, as did my husband and daughter. I felt my eyes well up almost immediately as the music in this show really gets to me and I was also overawed by the talent of the actors involved.
On our visit the marvellous David Shannon played Valjean and Nancy Sullivan made a very good Eponine. David Shannon is no longer with 'Les Mis' but is now playing a brilliant 'Phantom'. The whole cast was great and deserved their standing ovation.
I love musical theatre. I love everything about it. But I had Les Mis. Hated it with a passion.
Don't get me wrong, I can accept that the clue is in the title. There are not going to be any jazz hands, and swinging from the rafters. But seriously, this goes beyond depressing. I normally love that exhilarating feeling when you leave the theatre, you feel uplifted, entranced by the talents that people posess, and still caught up in the story. But I couldn't wait for this to end and get out of the theatre. I went to see it with 5 friends, and all of us felt the same.
With a running time of about 3 hours this is not a quick theatre trip. And we were sat at the back of the stalls - the seats slightly cheaper than normal stalls prices, but still very expensive given that the view was not amazing. prices range from £16 to £60, and you can often pick up special deals on websites like Last Minute.
I'm not going to ruin the whole plot line for you, but be prepared to expect no happiness. None. Zilch. There is one song that is slightly more upbeat, but it's kind of about a horrible husband and wife who are trying to extort money. So really it's not that cheerful afterall.
In my opinion, all the songs sound the same. The same backing music just slightly different words over the top - and when I say slightly different words, how many words are there for unrequited love, war, and death exactly? Hmmm. If you're interested - go see this.
The stage and costumes (being that this is a depressing show) are all bland and dull. And if you don't have a great view of the stage then you could easily confuse one character for the next.
The cast are talented, very talented, their voices are lovely. There isn't really any dancing involved, so I cannot comment on their abilities there. But their acting is very good. You actually believed all the misery.
I really have no idea why this is such a popular show (in it's 25th year in fact), maybe people enjoy being depressed, I really don't know. But if like me, you prefer jazz hands and silliness, then go see something like Priscilla!
I went to watch Les Miserables last night with my wife. Shes dragged me off to many a musical over the years, and i knew that this was one in particular that she'd always been dying to see - so i bought her tickets for christmas and off we went.
The good news is that she loved it (and has been singing the songs ever since). The bad news is .... i hated it.
I felt that the story was much too difficult to follow, and i failed to connect with any of the characters like i have in other productions. Whilst i did recognise the songs, and can admit that the cast were very talented, i just felt like this production was not one for me. To the point where my favourite bit was watching the guy in front of me who had falled asleep!!! (which again reiterates the boring nature of this show).
My wife loved it - so im guessing that it was money well spent. But in my opinion - if your going to spend alot of money on tickets i'd pick one of the other shows first... try the Lion King or Miss Saigon.
I love musicals and have seen most of the major ones out there.... Miss Saigon, Cats, Phantom, Fame, Grease, the Lion King - i could go on and on. Even so - after watching Les Miserables i have to say... this is now up there as one of my favourites.
I knew very little about the production before i went - and i'm glad i kept it that way because there was a surprise at every turn. If you dont know too much about the story - i suggest that you too keep it that way.
Basically, it is the tale of Jean Valjean.... a man jailed for 19 years for stealing bread to feed his sisters starving son. The story begins with him being released on parole and finding oppression everywhere because his papers and the brand on his chest announce him as an ex-con. Valjean breaks parole and the rest of the play follows him throughout his life.
The songs are amazing - and John Owen-Jones played a wonderful Valjean and Gareth Gates played a fantastic, love struck Marius. Both have wonderful vocal ability - and were supported by an incredibly talented cast.
If you only every going to watch one musical in your whole life - i would advise Miss Saigon. Im finding very difficult to trace a musical that can beat its wonder. But, Les Mis definately comes a close second! If it ever stops near you .... be sure not to miss it!!!!
Les Misérables - a must-see musical.
I have always been obsessed with musicals, from light-hearted Hairspray to the spectacle of Phantom of the Opera, but none of them has quite added up to the wonderful Les Misérables, an adaption of the Victor Hugo novel.
Let the music and songs, composed by Claude-Michel Shönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, which contrast from strong, angry, light-hearted and emotional, take you back to Napoleonic times in France, a time of hardships, sorrow and love.
Follow Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who escapes his life of captivity to seek redemption from his crime of stealing a loaf of bread. Along this journey, you will meet Fantine, Cosette, the Thénardiers, Eponine, Javert, Marius, Gavrouche, Enjorlas and the students of the ABC cafe. These characters will all touch you in different ways, be it the ill-treatment of young Cosette, the lost youth of Fantine, the mourning of Marius or the unrequited love of Eponine.
With hits such as 'On My Own', 'I Dreamed a Dream', 'Bring Him Home' and 'One Day More', your time in the theatre will not be a disappointment.
The talented actors and actresses have the hard job of not only sustaining an all singing play (there is no speaking at all!), but also acting through these songs. The cast I saw, including David Shannon and Nancy Sullivan, pulled this off perfectly, truly touching the hearts of the enraptured audience, who definitely felt a sense of loss when any of the characters died. Expect to get through many tissues!
The costumes give a real sense of the period, with a wide range, including Cosette's beautiful wedding gown, the smart uniforms of the revolutionary students and the rags of the poor people of France. The set works well, with a magnificent barricade and a revolving stage which shows two sides of the garden of Valjean and Cosette, when Marius courts her, displaying the love of Marius and Cosette on one side, and Eponine's solitude on the other. The choreography is highly effective, not so much dancing, but movement which really sets the mood of the musical.
I don't think I could mention any bad points, except that I recommend you go prepared, for example watching the 10th Anniversary CD or listening to the music, just so you have an idea of the plot, as it can be quite confusing if you don't know about it beforehand. Although expensive, I definitely thought that sitting a few rows from the stage was a really great experience, as we felt really close to the action without having to look up or have the orchestra too near.
Though i've seen a fair amount on stage, this is the best production I have ever seen. It's an all sung story, not something I'm normally a fan of but the songs are memorable and moving and the storyline is easy to follow. Set in revolutionary France, a runaway convict called Jean Valjean escapes from his prison sentence and vows to live by the straight and narrow against the backdrop of social unrest. It doesn't sound particularly appealing but the story is so moving, tackling love, death, social upheaval and desperation, that it leaves you with a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye. The westend version has some incredible special effects and staging and without doubt the fight sequence of the people against the authorities during the revolution is the best slow motion sequence i've seen on stage. If you're looking for something to see at the westend then go and see this. It's a show that has it all, it's inspiring, classy and technologically impressive.
Finally taken to see Les Mis last week after years of promises/threats by Mr Neenaw. Now people who like this musical really seem to love it - it was not the first time most people in our party had seen it (cept me!) and for one of us it was no. 4!
As lots and lots of people know, Les Mis is a long-running musical based on Victor Hugo's novel set in early 19th century France. I don't want to spend the whole review on the plot, but essentially it centres around ex-con and parole abscondee Jean Valjean and his attempts to build a worthwhile life, Javert - the man in life-long pursuit of the criminal, and social unrest and revolt in post-revolutionary France.
The musical itself is very good of its kind. I can be a bit sentiment-phobic (give me Sweeney Todd over Miss Saigon any day!) and as such I was probably about the only dry eye in the house at the end. However, the ensemble pieces focussing on the barricades are truly stirring, while the comedic elements featuring the cynical, surviving Thenardiers are a total winner. Valjean and Javert are strong central characters who invest meaning into their tugging on the heart strings. The most disappointing characters for me are Marius and Cosette, the young romantic ones - both a bit wet! Epinine, with her unrequited love for Marius, is a much stronger part.
However, here it's hard to totally separate the parts from the actors and production. In the production I saw at the Queens theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue Epinine really stood out, whereas the actors playing Marius and Cosette were rather bland.
The production makes great use of the stage - it's apparently smaller and feels more intimate than its previous venue at Cambridge Circus, and concensus was that it worked rather well. The barricades are particularly well done - with a virtuoso live slow motion battle sequence a highlight.
As already mentioned, there's a lot of plot, and for me the musical really suffers by having to condense what must be a really dense source! There are character actions and jumps in plot which make very little sense, and I'm sure it's due to necessary abridgement from the novel.
And the songs? Well, you probably know half of them already! On the whole, they're brilliant, with Epinine's 'I love him' and the comic 'Master of the House' my personal faves.
I was genuinely pleasantly surprised - while there is plenty of sentimentality, there's also characters you care about, an impressive production, a sense of humour and songs that are still buzzing round in my head a week later!
Les Miserables is a musical scored by Claude-Michel Schonberg and first performed in 1985. Based on a novel by Victor Hugo, it tracks the story of a multitude of characters through France in the early 1800s, through their every day lives up to a day when there is a revolution against the Parisian Authorities. The story is multi faceted, covering such varied characters as a political exile and his daughter, a bent innkeeper, a revolutionary student and a fiercely religious policeman.
Perhaps the reason that the streets of the West End are littered with failed musicals is that each production has so many factors to consider: music, lyrics, staging, characters, choreography, plot, all the difficulties of play, opera and ballet combined into a single gargantuan creation. At the same time, any director is forced to tread the unsteady tightrope that lies between sentimentality (see, or try not to see, Aspects of Love) and genuine emotion, with hundreds of sceptical musical theatre vultures just waiting to rip up his production. When a musical triumphs over all these problems, then there is no greater treat. But although I would love to say that Les Miserables ticks all the boxes, I'm afraid that for me it wasn't quite there.
Firstly to that most crucial aspect of any musical, the songs. Here there is no possibility of complaint. A combination of clever lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and a grandly sweeping score by Schonberg results in a collection of infinitely memorable songs, most that are also agreeably easy to sing along to. The most well known songs are generally the solos - such familiar gems as I Dreamed a Dream, Bring Him Home and On My Own - and the humorous numbers (Master of the House) but for me the best of the musical are the ensemble numbers, Do You Hear The People Sing and One Day More. Both of these are arranged and orchestrated with real panache, pulling together all the characters in the wide ranging story and raising a smile from even the dourest of audience members.
The songs pass muster, then, and when I last saw the musical so did the staging and the choreography. However, as both these factors have such a level of plasticity, it seems unfair to make a comment on them when they probably change on a regular basis. The other considerations are the plot and the characters.
This, for me, is where the problem lies. The musical is full of good characters, often unusually complex and self doubting for a West End Musical. The character of Jean Valjean, who is the main protagonist and followed from start to finish, stands out as particularly strong, but a lot of the outer characters are also exemplary - Eponine, a poor girl caught in a hopeless love for a taken man: Javert, whose life is ruled by his religion: the many students for whom the only choices in life are to force change or to die. These characters are technically very well utilised by the grand, sprawling plot, which follows Jean Valjean in his escape from jail, his reunion with his lost daughter and the part that they and their chance acquaintances play in the Paris uprising. Having read this details before going to see the musical, I was expecting both plot and characters to work far better than simpler conceits such as Phantom of the Opera. But, even though I followed the plot enjoyably enough, it felt as though there was something lacking.
And that I cannot describe Les Miserables as the perfect musical. It's like when someone you don't know cooks on of your Mum's recipes: all the ingredients, but without the heart. You can have all the complex characters, fancy sets, fantastic songs and vivid costumes in the world, but this musical will never pack the emotional punch to the stomach that you get from Blood Brothers or West Side Story.
I would still definitely encourage you to go and see Les Miserables, especially if you find the same joy that I do in good songs and good orchestration. But my advice to the first time visitor would be this: don't take young children with no experience of musicals, as they may not follow the plot and might become one of the musical theatre cynics mentioned above; don't go expecting a simple plot and easy characters; and, the thing that I wish I had done before going, read a little of the history of France in the early 18th century. Although I am still yet to read the book (hiding my head in shame!), my guess is that some of the intricacies of Victor Hugo's story translated poorly when painted with the thicker brush of stage dialogue, and that to really engage with the story on a personal level, you need a better grasp of history than I have.
So to summarise Les Miserables: beautiful songs, beautiful stage work, clever plotting, good characters. But it just didn't hit me in the heart.
Ever since I was little, I have loved musicals. My dream was always to go to London and see hundreds of Musicals in the West End.
Last year I was lucky enough to travel to London and indulge myself in going too see some Musicals, among these were Wicked, Billy Elliot, Avenue Q, and the world famous Les Miserables!
Les Miserables or "Les Mis", is a world famous musical written by the famous novelist Victor Hugo. Set in the early nineteenth century, it follows the lives of various characters through the French Revolution. As with most musicals, the show includes conflict, love stories and love triangles, friendship among various other story lines.
==Jean Val Jean== could be said is the main character. Jean Val Jean is the man who joins the characters together and pulls the whole play into a fantastic and heart wrenching story.
The show starts when convict Jean Val Jean is released from prison however as he is a convict he must carry a yellow "ticket of leave" to make everywhere and everyone aware of who he is. After the Bishop finds Val Jean sleeping rough on the streets, he offers him a place of rest for the night. However Val Jean takes advantage of the situation and in the middle of the night steals the Bishops silverware and runs. He is caught, however the bishop decides to give him another chance and tells that the silverware was a gift to him. The bishop tells him however to make an honest man of himself, but just as Val Jean decides to take his advice, his theft is reported.
The story then jumps to six years later, when Val Jean has set up a life from himself. He is now a proud factory owner and has recently been appointed mayor of his town.
Soon into the play Val Jean meets Fantine, a dying woman who has been fired from his factory, and sadly turned to prostitution. Fantine has a daughter Cossette who is living with a nasty innkeeper Thenardier and his wife Madame Thenardier, who alrady have a daughter Eponine. It is then found out that Cosette is extremely neglected meanwhile Eponine is living the spoilt rotten life. Val Jean feels for Fantine and promises to her that when she dies he will take care of her daughter, Cossette.
Police inspecter Javert suspects Val Jeans identity, however when another man is put to prison being suspected as Val Jean, Javerts suspiscion is suspended. But not for long. Val Jean feeling guilty, then reveals his identity and is sent to prison instead. Val Jean then cleverly pretends to die, and makes and escape. He thento the inn and pays to "buy" Cossette. Cossette and Val Jean then escape to paris and begin their new lives in a convent.
The story is fast forwarded to ten years later, when Val Jean remains in Paris. They are leaving the convent, meanwhile students, the leader being Enjolras, are planning an anti-orleanist revolution the night before the Paris uprising. This shortly followed the death of General Lamparque, a french leader. Some of the poor also join the students and this is when the street urchin Gavroche is introduced. A twist in the tale is when student Marius falls in love with Cossette.
Two new characters are then introduced, Thenardier and his wife Madame. Thenardier, who have payed a gang of theives to rob Val Jeans house while Marius is there to visit Cossette.
The Thenardiers daughter Eponine who has also now grown up, has also fallen in love with Marius so convinces the theives to leave. Val Jean now fears that Javert is back on his case and plans to flee to London in a bid to escape.
The next day, the students arrive at the barricades ready for war. Marius joins his friends at the barricades, as he thinks his beloved Cosette has moved to London with her father and fears he will never see her again. Val Jean is surprised to hear that Marius is fighting for his daughter and so goes to join him. Eponine also arrives at the barricades, and jumps infront of the bullet to save Marius.
The fight lasts for a rather long time, and the atmostphere becomes very tense. Throughout the scene, Val Jean saves Javert from death. Marius remains only injured however all his friends, including Enholras and Gavroche are killed. Val Jean flees, carrying the injured Marius, however on his way to returning Marius to his family runs into Javert. Val Jean trys to persuad Javert to allow him to return Marius to his family before having it out with him. At this point Javert is confused and doesn't know whether to catch and report Val Jean, or let him free as he has shown true bravery, curtosy and trust towards his friends.
Javerts decision proves to hard for him, and he comitts suicide, throwing himself into the river.
After the barricades and the deaths, the show is given a light relief when Marius and Cosette are happily married, however the happiness is soon forgotten when Val Jean admits to Marius he is an ex-convict. Marius doesn't want Cosette being anywhere near her father and so "steals" her from him. Unable to cope with his "loss", Val Jean takes to bed, and rests in peace.
After Cosette explains all her fathers good deeds, and his loyal self, he quickly goes to his father in laws dying bedside. However it is too late and Val Jean slips away, happily and content with his daughter and son in law.
The Les Miserables cast, like most musicals, changes its cast after around 18 months or so. The cast is _always_ of high quality, and it is extremely unlikely you are going to be let down by one of the actors or actresses performances. The cast of Les Mis was recently changed (June 23rd 2008)
_CURRENT WEST END_
Drew Sarich - Jean Val Jean
Hans Peters Janssees - Javert
Joanna Ampil - Fantine
Chris Vincent - Thenardier
Melanie La Barrie - Madame T.
Gary Watson - Marius
Edward Baruwa - Enjolras
Claire-Marie Hall - Cossette
Cassandra - Compton - Eponine
The cast are always extremely proffesional and always act out their scenes to perfection. Capturing the audience in the story is an extraordinally hard thing to do, however the cast members managed this wonderfully, and when the play was finished you were left wanting more!
Les Miserables is famous for it's beautiful music and moving musical peices.
PROLOUGE- The prolouge includes, the work song, Val Jean being arrested, Val Jean forgiven, and Val Jeans first solo song, "What have I done". The prolouge introduces the musical really, highlighting Val Jeans past, his convict and his release from prison. The music here is very effictive and gets you really in the mood and dying to find out what happens to the characters.
AT THE END OF THE DAY - This song is sung by the factory workers. Basically, singing about how hard there work is and how little they get payed. The whole chorus is on stage for this song.
I DREAMED A DREAM - This song is sung Fantine. Singing about how great she thought and wished her life would be, however looking back and seeing it wasn't all that great.
LOVELY LADIES - Lovely ladies is sung by the prostitutes, and this is where a fight begins between Fantine and some of the other prostitues, all about hiding her child, Cosette.
WHO AM I - "Who am I" is sung by Val Jean. Val Jean looks back and feels extremely guilty for all he has done in his life, such as stealing from a generous bishop who took him in for the night. It is at this point that Val Jean decides to follow the Bishops wise words.
COME TO ME - Come to me is sung by Fantine on her death bed. Fantine is singing it to her daughter Cosette, however she is not actually there, it is only an image of Cosette in her head. Val Jean is with Fantine at this point, and joins in the song near the end.
CASTLE ON A CLOUD - Castle on a cloud is sung by the young Cosette. She sings about how she wishes everything was fine again and how she imagines the castle on the cloud being so fantastic and comforting.
MASTER OF THE HOUSE - Master of the House is sung by Thenardier and Madame Thenardier. The whole cast is agian on stage at this point. The song mainly describes the Inn they keep, and introduces there nasty personalities. This song is quite a humerous one, and usually bags a few laughs from the audience.
STARS - Stars is sung by Javert. At this point Javert is still looking for the convict he released earlier but then heard of his later theft. This song is usually extremely powerful and often gets the audience off there seats during the applause.
LOOK DOWN - Look Down is also sung at the beginning of the show. Sung by the poor, it reiterates the lives of the poor and how difficult it is.
LITTLE PEOPLE - Little people is sung by street urchin Gavroche. Gavroche is usually a young boy, and a short boy is normally cast. This song usually gets the audience laughing, providing a slight relief from the harrowing last few scenes.
RED & BLACK - Red and Black is sung by all the students, led by Enjolras and Marius. The song tells the story of the days leading up to the barricade. I always find this song very amusing as it changes in key, and the tune changes every so often.
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING - Do you hear the people sing, is another song sung by the majority of the cast. I always find myself joining into the song as it is known by almost everybody.
I SAW HIM ONCE/IN MY LIFE/A HEART FULL OF LOVE - These three songs are all joined together. Introducing the love triangle between Eponine, Cosette and Marius. The songs tell that Eponine is in love with Marius, but Marius and Cosette are both in love.
PLUMET ATTACK - The plummet attack is when the Thenardiers send theives to Val Jeans house. However Eponine persuades them to go away.
ONE DAY MORE - One day more is probably the most well-loved from song from Les Miserables. The song includes each main character telling there stories through the song. This song ends the first act and _always_ gets a standing ovation from the audience!
ON MY OWN - On my own is sung by Eponine who is incredibly heartbroken at this point. She is madly in love with Marius but he is in love with Cosette. She feels as though she is on her own and nobody will ever love her.
THE ATTACK - The attack is when the fight happens. During this time Eponine takes a bullet for her beloved Marius, and sadly she dyes.
A LITTLE FALL OF RAIN - A little fall of rain is sung by Marius and Eponine when Eponine is dying. Eponine admits her true feelings to Marius, and Marius is happy to be with her as she dyes, telling her she'll be fine and somebody will take care of her, and nothing can hurt her now.
DRINK WITH ME - Drink with me is sung by Grantaire, the students and the woman two days after the deaths of everybody. They look back at old times and remember there friends. Raising there glasses for the more unfortionate.
BRING HIM HOME - Bring him home is a very touching song sung by Val Jean. Each time I have been in the show, and the five times I have seen it, I am always crying at this song. Val Jean sings about Marius and how he hopes he will be ok, and be happy with Cosette.
DOG EAT DOG - Dog Eat Dog is sung by Thenardier. The song is perhaps quite scary and has an eery atmosphere to it.
JAVERTS SUICIDE - Javert unable to cope with his decision, decides the only thing to do is to end his life, before it is ended for him. Javert throughs himself into the River Seine after singing out his heart.
TURNING - Turning is sung by the ladies who sung Lovely Ladies early in the first the act. The song highlights how much the world has changed and is the same tune as Lovely Ladies.
EMPTY CHAIRS AT EMPTY TABLES - Empty chairs at Empty tables is sung by Marius singing about his friends who he lost in the battle. This song again is extremely upsetting and you will almost definitly be left with at least a tear in your eye.
WEDDING - The wedding of Cosette and Marius is home to a "party number". The whole cast, minus the principles takes on the rolls of the wedding guests. This scene provides a light relief from the previous songs and gives us a break before the harrowing end to the show.
Overall, the music is the musical is absolutly fabulous. Each scene was acted out to perfection and you were never left with a straight face. You were either in fits of laughter due to the funnier characters such as Gavroche, or in tears at some of the heart wrenching and extremely moving songs such as Bring Home and Empty chairs and Empty tables.
During the more moving songs, the audience goes entirely silent and even after the song you never know whether to clap or stay silent and relive the moment as it was so fantastic!
Arriving in the auditorium, I was absolutly speachless. The atmosphere was electric, magical. The stage looked very pretty but very dramatic at the front of the theatre, and the audience turnout was amazing.
I cant praise Les Miserables high enough. It is definitly in my top 3 favourite musicals, and I look forward to going to London again this year to see it!
I would definitly recommend Les Miserables, and it is definitly worth the costly price you pay to watch. As the story can be quite disturbing I wouldn't say it was very suitable for the younger children, also due to the fact it is quite a long play, and as they are most likely to be oblivious to the story and not understand they would probably get rather restless and spoil the whole experience. I also have to point out that the show does contain mild swearing so watch out if you do decide to take your children.
Apart from the running time, the musical is definitly worth the money and I can't recommend highly enough!!
As the theatre is pretty central it is fairly easy to get to by bus. I wouldn't recommend travelling to by car as it can be extremely difficult to get parked!
The theatre inside is large and can seat a large number of people. I can't be entirely sure but according to my observations, every single seat in the auditorium will provide a great view.
Les Miserables has been running at the Palace Theatre for many years and is one of the longest (if not THE longest) running musicals in London.
I had been a fan of Les Miz (as it's known to fans) since my early teens and finally got to see it live for my 17th birthday. I truely loved every minute. There is some magic in a live performance that you could never get from a CD recording. The performers were absolutely top-notch, singing and acting their hearts out. I particularly loved the actors in the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert. They really held the piece together and the moments they shared on stage were simply wonderful.
However, what really brought the house down for me was the whole ensemble songs which come at the end of Act 1 and Act 2. They were so powerful and the audience was literally hanging off the edge of their seats!
I saw this show with my dad, and while I wanted it to go on forever, he was getting a bit bored by the end. It is a really long show, and can be hard to follow if you didn't already know the plot. So, if you want to go and see Les Miz, I'd advise listening to the audio CD or watching the Liam Neeson film first.
Anyway, don't take my word for it, just go and see it. It's worth every penny.
I have seen this show quite a few times now and can never get bored with it. All the casts I have seen were outstanding. If you do not know the story or would like to get ahead before you see it, rent out the film Les Miserables (with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman). Slightly changed and missing a couple of characters, but nontheless a very good film. Now back to the musical. Once the opening chords start you may get a shiver down your spine (I do, every time). You will be transfixed the whole way through. Great songs, great sets (escpecially Javert's suicide - rotating stage and quick flying bridge!!!) and just amazing. I culd go on for hours about this show, but I don't want to bore you. SEE IT NOW.
It all began in Marseilles... I have always liked Les Miserables, since about the age of 12 I guess. I don't know what it is that takes my breath away every time I see it, but I have never been to a performance anything other than stunning. I suppose that the words and lyrics are the main component that make this musical what it is. Poignant and eye-opening, Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean, an escaped missionary prisoner during the French revolution. It is the intimate, yet astounding performance and role of each character that make this performance what it is. The diversity allows it to be played in so many different ways, yet the barricades are always the same, because, lets face it, the barricades are always an essential part of the performance! By using optimum voices and choreography, the result that can be achieved is astounding. As long as the main characters are chosen for strength of voice, you cannot go far wrong. A truly magical night out that I would recommend to anyone. This musical is one which will stay in your heart forever, as well as some of those annoying tunes you just can't forget! Do you hear the people sing? I hope so, for your own sake.