If you have been living under a rock for the last 25 years and don’t know the story of Les Mis, you should be ashamed of yourself. But because I’m a nice person, here is the synopsis from the official website:
“Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.
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.”
Got it? Good. There is obviously a lot more that happens during the three hour musical but that’s the nuts and bolts of it.
Callum Stott was a bit too young for the role of Jean Val Jean. I felt he needed a few more years of life experience in order to really understand where the character is coming from. However, he did give a lovely rendition of Bring Him Home towards the end of the show. Alex Bathe, Anna MacLeod and Barney Wilkinson were good as Javert, Eponine and Marius and Connor Burnett stood out as the strongest actor and singer of the whole production as Enjolras being almost good enough for a professional production. Alex Gavin was brilliant as Gavroche and could easily play the role on the West End stage tomorrow. Megan Gardiner started off slow as Cosette but really came in to her own in the second half, showing some great vocals and acting skills.
Two of the greatest comedy parts in theatre are the Thenardiers and I was really disappointed with the performances of Rory Kempsell and Sarah Mills. It was very am-dram and the characters didn’t shine through their performances.
Captivate Theatre started life as an after school club for children around Edinburgh and so it is admirable that they are now staging full productions of shows like Les Mis at the Edinburgh Festival. If you’ve never been able to see Les Mis in London or around the world before then get yourself down to the Spiegeltent in Edinburgh and give it a watch. For £15 (and sometimes £7.50 on buy one get one free days) you can see a huge West End show for a fraction of the price. The quality isn’t as great but for that money it doesn’t really matter.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Les Miserables is playing at The Famous Spiegeltent until 16 August 2015. Click here to book tickets