Les Misérables; Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
4th October 2022
Cameron Mackintosh’s renowned production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Les Misérables is currently at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury as part of its UK tour. Les Misérables is one of the world’s most popular and well-known musicals. Featuring an iconic score including the songs ‘I Dreamed A Dream’, ‘On My Own’, ‘Bring Him Home’ and ‘One Day More’, this is a show which will delight fans and newcomers.
The new staging, which has been hailed as “Les Mis for the 21st Century”, is very impressive. Huge, visually accurate constructed set pieces create a multi-levelled stage. Each set piece is full of fine detail and helps to fully transport the audience to the 1800’s. The transitions are smooth and no time is wasted between scenes which is especially impressive given the fact that the set pieces are so large and it is a touring production. The entire production feels like it has been lifted directly from the West End stage. There are also some changes to the staging of some of the scenes which are especially worth mentioning, including ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables‘ which is particularly poignant and the new staging of ‘Soliloquy‘ which adds a wow factor. Not only is the set, designed by Matt Kinley, full of detail but so are the exquisite costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland. The addition of the visual projections by Finn Ross just adds another layer to the production which is top class.
The cast are all incredible! Les Misérables is a demanding show and the cast do not let it show. From the ensemble, who work tirelessly as a multitude of characters, to the lead characters, every single member of the company is excellent. It is also wonderful to hear such a large live orchestra who bring the score to life. Dean Chisnall is superb as Jean Valjean. He has not only the vocals to take on this challenging character, but he also fully embodies the character and brings him to life, managing to add even more meaning to the score with some subtle intonations and gestures. Nic Greenshields is perfectly cast as Javert. Physically, he towers over the other cast members and his rich bass vocals match his stature. Rachelle Ann Go impresses as Fantine, particularly in ‘Lovely Ladies‘ where she manages to add a little sass to the character. This is a large company with absolutely no weak links, but a few members who particularly stood out and deserve credit are Caleb Lagayan (cover Marius for this performance), Abel Law (Montparnasse), Samuel Wyn-Morris (Enjolras), Ian Hughes (Thenardier) and Emily Owens (Old Woman).
Les Misérables is such a well-known musical and is a firm fan favourite with many, but this new production really adds new life into the show. It is a tremendously moving, visually impressive piece of theatre with a soaring score. The multi-layered storylines and interwoven characters make Les Misérables a show which audiences can revisit many times and yet still see something new. Whether you are new to the show or a long-term fan you simply must make sure to buy a ticket and join Les Misérables on the barricade!
Les Misérables plays at The Marlowe Theatre until the 29th October. For tickets and further information click here.
Photo Credit: Danny Kaan