I mentioned on my Saturday post that I was going to see Les Miserables Live Broadcast at my local cinema, so I thought that I'd nip on today and give a bit of an outline of what I thought about it.
I first saw Les Miserables about 20 years ago (man that's depressing when I work it out), I was only 7 or 8 and don't have a massive memory of it, most of my memories are derived from the 1995 Royal Albert Hall Concert, which I absolutely loved. My mum originally took me because she loved it and decided that I would as well, the fact that this was incredibly heavy and probably a little over my head never occurred to her (I wandered round singing Lovely Ladies for two days afterwards until my mum caught me and politely explained to me that I probably shouldn't be singing that one).
This time I saw it with my other half (who I'd emotionally blackmailed into coming with me so I didn't have to go on my own) and his parents who, when his mum found out we were going declared that she wanted tickets as well. I was the only one who'd seen it before meaning that I occasionally had my other half leaning over doing "so, who's she?", "is he dead?" "is she dead now?" "didn't she die two hours ago?" questions like that, occasionally relaying questions from his mother to me then passing the answer back again, and so on. His father, got to the interval, decided that it wasn't his thing and left again.
I mostly hadn't heard of the cast. Was really glad to see Lea Salgona back as Fantine because I loved her as Eponnine, Matt Lucas as Thenardier, didn't like the idea but was pleasantly surprised, Nick Jonas as Marius, again didn't like the idea, he was okay, but blatantly out of his depth, he just didn't have the voice to compete.
The trouble I have is that I have cast members that I absolutely loved, Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean of course, Alun Armstrong as Thenardier, Lea Salgona as Eponnine and I thought that Philip Quast was wonderful as Javert (he hits notes so low that you don't so much hear them as feel them), so it was going to be difficult for other people to measure up, but I'll try to be level and not rule people out automatically.
Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, actually very good, he managed to over come me being prejudiced against him for not being Colm Wilkinson, so he must have been good. Had a really good voice.
Nick Jonas, bless him, I'm sure he's very attractive, but he stood out, he wasn't a strong enough performer to manage in this forum, he was completely out classed by everyone around him, and you find yourself wondering who got turned down so a teen star could get the part. Also, his accent was annoying me, don't worry, he didn't have an American accent, but he'd obviously (or so it seemed to me) spent some time with a vocal coach to get rid of the American accent, and consequently came up with a couple of unusual pronounciations, tomorrow seemed to go on forever.
Norm Lewis, again never heard of him, didn't quite have the amazing range of Philip Quast, but he was very good and Javert's suicide was the only time I clapped (I feel stupid clapping in a cinema 200 miles away from where the performance is, and got royally mocked by Ben for it I might add).
Matt Lucas, much better that I expected, I really disliked the idea of him as Thenadier, thinking that he'd use it as a vehicle for himself, but he actually gave a very credible performace and was quite impressive really.
Lea Salgona was, of course, wonderful, simple as, I was slightly surprised when I heard she was going to be playing Fantine (don't know why, I just couldn't picture it), but she was brilliant, and got the first standing ovation of the night if I remember rightly, and probably one of the longest, meaning that I had to try and explain to Ben and his mum that she was quite famous and there were probably quite a lot of people there who were big fans of her.
Katie Hall suffers from the fact that I don't particularly like the role of Cossette, never have done. As a kid I just thought she was boring re-watching it now I realised that Cossette doesn't really have a role or a personality of her own, she's a catalyst for a lot of the action, but she doesn't really do anything herself, and she's the only main character to not have her own song. Gavroche has more of a solo than she does (why is it by the way that both concert versions have cut out the full version of Little People which I've always really liked). I'm sure she was very good but I'm afraid that she suffered from me really not caring.
Ramin Marimloo as Enjolras, again, very good, as you'd expect, I keep thinking that I recognise him, but I can't work out where from so I'll just have to leave that be.
Samantha Barks as Eponnine, Eponnine is one of my favourite roles, so I'm liable to get quite offended if you do something that I don't like. Aparently Samantha got to the last three in I'd Do Anything, but I'm afraid I really don't remember her. She was good, a little more shouty than singing at times, and a little to 'London' but very good all the same.
The end of the show saw the three current casts on stage, then the arrival of the original 1985 cast (minus, as far as I could tell, David Burt as Enjolras, I've done a bit of research and it looks as though he's still alive, so I don't know why that was). The final song was the 4 Jean Valjeans singing Bring Him Home, which was wonderful (queue audience shots of crying women). They closed with many children singing do you hear the people sing, personally I think that should have finished on Bring Him Home which was a much more effective closer, but that's just my opinion. I really enjoyed it and wish that I could have been at the O2 to see it, although I suspect that that would have been a lot more expensive.