Having seen les miserable three times in a space of one month I did think that I would be bored of the story and songs etc but that’s the fantastic thing about this show, that you can watch it a hundred times and still feel the buzz and excitement every single time. This version of the show was a live stream broadcast from London of an all-star concert-style version of les mis shown in showcase cinema in Nantgarw.
This version of the show was a concert-style performance which had performers walk up to the microphones located at the front of the stage, sing their songs and then would take a seat on the stage. This meant most of the theatrics of the show was left out and the focus was on singing which led to some amazing musical numbers. However, to start the show everybody was given a sheet of paper which contained the credits and names of people who worked on the show while on the back it was promoting the next musical live streams. While I completely understand why this was done, I do think this was unnecessary. The actual ‘flyer’ was awkward and poorly designed which meant many people just left the sheets in the cinema as they didn’t even fold properly. Although this show was supposed to be concert style I did at times seem to forget this fact. There were points in the show where performers would dance, the lights and camera angels would change drastically and this was at times distracting to watch And took away from the concert Essence of the show. One of the worst things about this show was that the camera at times was positioned so we could see the back of audiences heard which wasn’t really good and was at times annoying. At the same times, as they stripped back all the theatrics, the story of the show requires any iconic scenes which fell flat due to the concert-style the company tried to introduce. Specifically the death scenes towards the end of the show. This was simply lights and some minor being shot acting which I was disappointed with, due to the drama and build up these scenes had in the musical adaptation. Due to the show being live-streamed we did have a technical issue in act one which meant we missed a scene of the show which was also somewhat disappointing.
This show also gave the audience a unique perspective on the show as it is unlike anything people had seen before. To start with the orchestra was located on the stage and wherein some senses the focus of the show. This allowed the orchestra to be visible throughout which is great as they are often ignored in these big musicals despite playing a pivotal role in the show. During the interval, the audience was treated to video packages that showed inside the rehearsal room of the upcoming west end run and information on the new theatre. This helped people who watched this concert feel special and helped advertise the upcoming shows which were cleverly done and also became a common motif.
The singing in this show was incredible as you would expect from an all-star cast who had played the roles before and even the ensemble was incredible strong singing wise. The lead roles of Michael Ball, Alfie Boe played Javert and Jean Valjean which was obviously incredible to listen to as these two are renown for their singing ability. The song stars were beautifully performed by Micheal Ball, although it did start off quite aggressive which was a surprising creative choice. These two seasoned and experienced performers excelled in these roles and after the end of the show, they continued to shine in renditions of iconic songs while partnered with the people who will be taking on their roles once the concert series is over. My only problem with these stars taking in the lead roles in this show was that it was clear an advertisement for their careers. At least twice we had to witness adverts about Micheal and Alfie’s tour and album which took away from what everyone came to see and that was les mis.
Having known Carrie hope fletcher from shows she has been in such as Adams family I was excited to see what she would bring to this show. Her rendition of ‘I dreamed a dream’ was one of the best versions of that song I have ever listened to. She is a very talented performer and this role played in each and every one of her strengths making it an excellent portrayal of the character. The most surprising star in this show, in my opinion, was Matt Lucas who played the role of Thénardier/the innkeeper. I never knew that Matt was a performer as I am only familiar of him due to his comedies so to see him sing and perform in this concert was at first a shock but he is a very talented performer and I am excited to see the next performance that he is in. He captured all the fun and campiness of the role with his surprisingly good vocal ability to deliverer an excellent performance. The songs ‘master of the house’ and ‘beggars at the ball’ were incredibly funny and had the audience rolling in laughter throughout.
Overall this was a unique and incredible production of les miserable which allowed the audience to gain a unique view of not just the show but also the whole production process. Despite this, it is important to consider that All-star doesn’t always mean better performance as there were aspects of this show that fell short of the standard set by the other version of les mis I have seen. I would rate this show 3 and a half stars and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new adaption if this massive musical!