Before I start, I should confess I am a self-confessed superfan, but please hear me out.
Whether you are regular theatre goer, love or hate musicals, have watched the film, seen the show or know absolutely nothing about Les Misérables, I defy anyone with a heart, not to come away feeling like they have seen something magical, that will stay with them for a long time after they leave the theatre.
For 35 years, this production has been performing in the West End of London and it is also being performed on stages all over the world. I was lucky enough to be invited to the gala performance in the opening week of the new production. The newly refurbished and renamed Sondheim Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue is the perfect setting for this iconic play and I went hoping and praying that my sixth time of seeing the production, would not end my love affair and thankfully, it didn’t. Many of the changes are subtle and involve tweaks to the set, including a few additions to the sewer scene and bridge scene – no spoilers, but fans of the show will know what I’m talking about!
The new cast included Josefina Gabriella as Madame Thenardier. Traditionally a voluptuous character whose bosom spills, however Gabriella is a delicate frame, but was a joy to watch. The other stand out character for me was Ciaran Bowling who played Grantaire. Totally had me hooked with his protection of the young Gavroche, who brought some much needed humour to this heavy hearted story. Shan Ako, cast a spell on the audience with her performance playing Eponine and had a voice I could listen to over and over.
Lily Kerhoas played the role of Cosette and gave a faultless performance and by the time the interval came, I was already emotionally exhausted and had handed out several tissues to strangers sitting nearby. The second half couldn’t start soon enough for me and I’ve already booked to go again in the Spring!
Booking now until October 2020. See www.sondheimtheatre.co.uk/ for tickets.