Les Miserables has been showing at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney since March and I’ve only just been to see it! Since it is now in it’s final week I decided it was better late than never and booked myself a ticket! (I actually bought two tickets because there was a 2-4-$60.01 deal which I thought was hilariously genius! But unfortunately I was unable to find someone to take the second ticket, so I just went On My Own – pun very much intended.)
Les Mis is one of my favourite musicals but before today I had never seen it live! The only way I had gotten to see the story come together, even after loving the songs for years, was when the movie came out with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. I was super excited to have my first theatrical experience with Les Mis and it just so happened to be the Australian cast’s 500th show!
I hurried in with only 10 minutes to spare before the show started due to my dawdling around the theatre foyer. The Capitol Theatre is my favourite theatre so I always enjoy walking through it and around it whenever I get a chance. I had seats in Row E of the dress circle and I was very happy with my selection. I have only ever had tickets in the dress circle though, so hopefully the next show I see I can find some good seats down in the stalls. This visit was only my 5th time at the Capitol, having seen both The Addams Family and Wicked twice previously.
The orchestra was FLAWLESS. I wish I could rave more about them. The opening sequence had my body covered in goosebumps! They had the most incredible sound and it was all SO spot on. I unfortunately didn’t buy a program, so I can’t be sure exactly who I saw in each role onstage. I plan to head back in this week to the theatre just to pick a program up – I never see a show without buying one.
I thought all of the main and supporting characters were brilliant. I particularly loved Fantine and Eponine (and of course the Thenardiers!). I found Cosette to be a very different vocal tone to what I had imagined and at first it distracted me a little but I fell in love with her after A Heart Full of Love. Eponine, I have finally decided, is my dream role out of the choice of characters in Les Mis. I always thought it would be Cosette because I am that kind of soprano, but I was weeping every time Eponine sang and it just cemented the fact that I identify with her character so much more. A Little Fall of Rain had me crying my eyes out, and I LOVE that about theatre!
I thought Valjean, Javert and Marius were all very strong and their vocals suited what I had expected, so I liked that a lot. Valjean is my favourite character because Bring Him Home thoroughly touches the very depths of my heart. I have never heard the song performed and not cried – and I have heard Bring Him Home performed quite a number of times now… it is the pinnacle of the show for me personally, and I thought our Aussie cast absolutely did it justice. The simplicity in the movement was perfect. It was exactly what I wanted from that piece and I was so relieved.
Unfortunately the entire row in front of me was made up of bouncing lively children and the entire row behind me was made up of chatty British tourists… normally this would be no problem, but in a show like Les Mis, with all the quiet touching moments that you just want to let yourself feel it is frustrating to have everyone behind you coughing and whispering about how cold they are and everyone in front of you jumping up and down and standing up and talking to each other… but I guess that’s what you get by going to a matinee! Oops, my bad.
All in all it was an enjoyable show and some parts of it really hit the spot… but it’s just no flying Elphaba! Now that was a theatrical moment that had me crying into my hands and believing that my sole purpose in life was to work in music theatre… It’d be good to have another one of those moments some time soon, but since Wicked has just been released for amateur societies to do I think we can kiss that blissful experience goodbye for a while.
Quick, go get your tickets before Les Miserables leaves for Brisbane (or if you live in Brisbane, book those tickets!) – you won’t regret seeing this show.