The concert version of Les Miserables (starring Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Matt Lucas and Carrie Hope Fletcher) was staged at the Gielgud Theatre in 2019, whilst the Queens Theatre underwent refurbishment. The full show returned to the newly named Sondheim Theatre just before lockdown and is set to reopen in September 2021. Rather than leave the theatre empty until then, they have revived the concert version of the show with a less star-studded cast but a perfectly cast one.
Bradley Jaden is back where he belongs as Javert (a role he plays in the fully staged show) after stepping aside to allow Michael Ball to play the role in the previous concert version – Shan Ako also returns as Éponine and both are more than worthy of their roles in the show. New to the show are Jon Robyns who is a brilliant Jean Valjean, , Lucie Jones as sweet Fantine, and Harry Apps as Marius. Jamie Muscato is the perfect Enjolras, a role he was born to play and does so brilliantly, making the character stand out more than ever before. Charlie Burn joins the cast as Cosette, a role she played on the most recent UK & Ireland tour of the show. And Gerard Carey and Josefina Gabrielle are hysterical as the Thénardiers, even busting out a Tik Tok style dance during Master of the House.
The whole production feels so much fresher than it ever has been before. The cast have been given the chance to change things up a bit with their performances, adding the odd riff or delivery of a line that goes against the original writing. Whilst many fans of the show may not appreciate the small changes, I felt it gave it a new lease of life.
Les Miserables is a classic because of the extraordinary music and so regardless of whether it is fully staged or a concert version it has never failed to leave me in awe of the wonder that is musical theatre.
Reviewed by West End Wilma