The jewel in the crown of musicals – Les Miserables – now plays to packed audiences in Birmingham in a spectacular production for the 21st century that touches on the troubled state of our world.
The worldwide hit musical uses every square inch of Birmingham Hippodrome’s sprawling stage to wow audiences with a production that makes people laugh and cry.
As scorching temperatures outside the theater set new weather records, the space inside Birmingham Hippodrome warmed up the audience with a sizzling spectacle that had people on their feet in rapture and awe.
Cameron Mackintosh’s legendary show may be based on a French novel written in 1862, but the thought-provoking themes of Victor Hugo’s searing book appeal to a modern audience.
The startling similarities between the musical’s themes and the current state of the world are uncanny.
Homelessness, poverty, unemployment, the chasm between the ruling class and the working class, injustice, political corruption, the exploitation of workers, the abuse of women, and the descent into paranoia and suspicion then that communities are put to the test in this current sociological, and psychologically powerful spectacle.
The mirror held up by the novelist Victor Hugo, as well as by the composer of the show Claude-Michel Schönberg and the lyricist Alain Boublil, makes the public aware that, despite the passage of a century, our world is more or less similar in terms of social injustice and destitution like that inhabited by the characters of Les Misérables.
The English version of the musical Les Miserables, which premiered in 1985, is one of the longest-running shows in West End history, and it continues to engage and delight audiences to the present day, as in testifies Birmingham where the curtain has risen on an exciting new manufacture.
The scope and scale of the show is greater than ever and must be seen to be truly believed. The costumes, props, staging and huge cast and crew – including the full orchestra – are on the scale of a multi-million dollar Hollywood movie production.
This is an evening at the theater where no cost or detail has been spared in translating the show to a 21st century audience that demands top quality entertainment.
The show tells the story of an innocent man named Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child, and imprisoned for almost 20 years for the crime, and upon his release is doggedly pursued by a policeman named Javert when Valjean breaks the conditions of his parole.
In a remarkable scene where Valjean steals silverware from a priest who sheltered and fed him, and later brought back to the church by police officers, the priest takes pity on Valjean and tells the officers that the silverware is not was not stolen but given as a gift. gift to Valjean. He later tells Valjean that he bought his soul and prays that he travels the road of light, mercy, and love.
Valjean’s journey – which demands enormous personal sacrifice – becomes the common thread that connects the various characters throughout the story’s epic narrative. The spirit of redemption and freedom shines brightly in the world of Les Misérables, which sinks and sinks into the filth of lies, vice, violence, misogyny, division and hatred.
The power of any show is the material’s ability to connect emotionally and philosophically with the audience, and this show does that with scenes of such emotive power that audience members were visibly moved by the drama unfolding on stage.
This scale of this musical requires a cast with immense stamina – the show lasts approximately 3 hours – and performers must be able to sing, dance and act for long sections without too much pause or rest.
The talented actors in this production rose to the challenge and performed as if their lives depended on it.
Dean Chisnall was fascinating as Jean Valjean, a man torn between honor and love. Chisnall’s tenor voice carries the emotional weight of the sacrifices he’s made over the years as he tackles the trials and tribulations thrown at him from all sides. His vocal range was colored by the pain Valjean felt.
Valjean’s nemesis Javert was played by Nic Greenshields who not only has size and stature – he towered over most of the other characters – but he also managed to convey the menace simmering in his tortured soul. and tormented as he relentlessly and remorselessly chases Valjean through the years.
The traitorous roles of Monsieur and Madame Thénardier were played by Ian Hughes and Helen Walsh. Both brought bright-eyed vaudevillian playfulness to their roles. Their comedic timing was in perfect sync with each other and the rest of the cast, including the kids.
The harrowing character of Fantine was played by Rachelle Ann Go who invested a haunting fragility in her role. Go was amazing in each of her heartbreaking and heartbreaking scenes that demanded intense physicality and emotion.
Nathania Ong conveyed the unrewarded and loving Éponine with such grace and beauty that audience members cried in the aisles. Ong’s melancholic voice brought a solemn silence to the auditorium of the Hippodrome.
The two lovers – the delicate Cosette and the revolutionary Marius – are sung and played by Paige Blankson and Caleb Lagayan. Blankson brings passion and strength to the role while Lagayan is fueled by the fire of freedom and love as he inspires citizens to stand up against tyranny and injustice.
Matt Kinley’s spectacular set designs, inspired by paintings by Victor Hugo, are absolutely stunning and inspire the audience’s imagination to engage and be drawn into the world created on stage. The depth of field in some scenes, especially with the way the image appears to move using rear projection, really grabs the senses and gives the illusion of being sucked into the space Hugo’s characters inhabit. .
Laurence Connor and James Powell’s direction is truly cinematic and epic, with scenes moving with energy and excitement.
As our world spirals into darkness and uncertainty, this show offers us a glimpse of hope and light.
Les Miserables sings our songs, for our times, and it inspires the human spirit to rise above the darkness and pain of the world.
Les Miserables currently play at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday August 27
(Visited 59 times, 7 visits today)
https://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/2022/08/12/review-les-miserables-show-sings-songs-troubled-times/https://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Lead-800×486.jpghttps://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Lead-300×182.jpgEntertainmentMusicCommentsWhat’s newAlain Boublil,B’ham,Birmingham,Birmingham Hippodrome,Brum,Caleb Lagayan,Cameron Mackintosh,Claude-Michel Schönberg,Cosette,dance,Dean Chisnall,England,Entertainment,Éponine,Fantine,France,Homeless,I am Bham, Je suis Birmingham,Javert,Jean Valjean,Les Misérables,Marius,Midlands,music,Musical,Nathania Ong,Nic Greenshields,Paige Blankson,Paris,Poverty,Rachelle Ann Go,Rangzeb Hussain,Show,sing,UK,Victor HugoThe jewel in the crown of musicals – Les Miserables – now plays to packed audiences in Birmingham in a spectacular production for the 21st century that touches on the troubled state of our world. The worldwide hit musical uses every inch of Birmingham Hippodrome’s vast stage to amaze…Rangzeb HussainRankzeb
Hussain[email protected]AuthorI Am Birmingham