When Les Miserables was released to critical acclaim in cinemas in early 2013 I joined many others with a love for the story line, for the strong characters and wonderful music. I then, of course, read Victor Hugo’s unabridged version (which took me much longer to get through) and dreamed for a chance to see it London’s West End.
So finally and quite spontaneously, I visited the Queen’s Theatre for Wednesday’s Matinee in the shows 30th year, and I was in for a treat.
All musicals manage to capture me, the opening prologue of 1815 Digne transported me to the France of 200 years ago instantly. In the following three hours I became entrapped in battle of justice for both Javert and Jean Valjean, both whom believe their actions were just, both of whom portray the struggles of righteousness and dedication. But in amongst this a love story arises, proving how in the darkest times, hope is always apparent.
For Eponine longing to be noticed, willing to give up everything. For Cosette, to take trust in those who offer help and to love unconditionally. Then Marius, standing up for what is right, stuck between the barricades and a life of equality he strives for. Each character’s strengths are placed before us, each performer giving their absolute all to depict the contrast of hope and loss visible throughout the production.
The music encapsulates the performance, allowing each thought to linger and to become more pronounced then imagined. The tunes of One Day More, On My Own and I Dreamed A Dream have followed me since leaving the theatre, bringing the characters with them and keeping revolutionary France alive. The production was well executed, the emotions of each character pronounced and the music and acting extraordinary.
Now in its 30th year, the world’s longest running musical should not be missed.
Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London