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Les Misérables Musical Review

The longest running West End musical, Les Misérables, currently showing at the Sondheim Theatre is based on the 19th century French historical novel by Victor Hugo. Author Hugo got his inspiration when visiting Montreuil-sur-Mer in France whilst traveling from Belgium to Paris; having visited Montreuil-sur-Mer myself I was even more excited to see it on the stage.

Following the protagonist Jean Valjean, played by Josh Piterman, an ex-convict in the 18th-century who despite his might is unable to outrun his fate. The story is about Valjean’s release from prison and how he has a second chance at life as the mayor while being constantly chased by his old prison inspector, Javert. The plot tackles harsh themes of criminal justice, the treatment of women, the justice system and other social issues present in 18th century France. While the story isn’t entirely true it is largely based on real figures and the French revolution of 1789.

It was a great show which was made even more amazing with the actors range of vocals. Piterman’s version of Valjean was brilliant with his vocals being enriched with emotion and power from the start. Despite her brief appearance, Lucie Jones who played Fantine was breathtaking showcasing her vulnerability especially in her solo of the well-known classic ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. As well as Nathania Ong as Eponine smashing her solo of ‘On My Own’. The cheeky and fierce Gavroche was portrayed perfectly earning laughs from the audience, the young actor was my personal favourite of the show. Along with the impressive solo performances, the large ensemble was also superb getting the whole theatre on their feet after every song written by Claude-Michel Schonberg. The large band orchestrated by Stephen Metcalfe was visible to the audience, located just in front of the stage.

Having watched the film of Les Misérables multiple times I was excited to see how it would translate onto the stage, I was very impressed by the powerful show. Directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor it was beautifully created with the sets being smartly done, the use of both screens and moving sets complimented each other perfectly to create the 18th century France look for the revolution. My favourite scenes were “Do You Hear The People Sing?”, “One Day More” and the closing scene because the whole cast was in them, the one word I’d use to describe them is powerful! I would therefore give Les Misérables 5 stars.

I would definitely recommend this classic to a theatre fan. Without prior knowledge of the plot, the show may be a bit confusing at certain parts so I would therefore suggest watching the film or reading the book before visiting.


Accessibility at the Sondheim Theatre

Located a 13 minute walk from Charing Cross, the Sondheim Theatre is just outside China Town. When we arrived at the theatre we were met by the access team who were all fantastic and adaptable when I asked to go to the shop. The shop was accessed through the main entrance and we didn’t have to queue, the wheelchair entrance to the theatre however was on the side of the building. Our seats were in an accessible box which had easy access from the street, unfortunately I had a restricted view as the ledge of the box was too wide for me to see over meaning I couldn’t see the near side of the stage, this was incredibly annoying as some of the action couldn’t be seen from where we seated. My nan also had difficulty seeing the stage from where we were sat and had to lean right over to see the parts I couldn’t.


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