What a weekend! The Australian production of Les Misérables was simply phenomenal. I mean, how do you even start to describe the remarkable experience, the amazing production, the brilliant music, and just the magnificent performance of the Aussie cast. It is really “Les Mis like you’ve never seen it before.
I’ve always believed that amongst the enormous conglomeration of musicals on and off Broadway, and in different parts of the world, Les Mis has the one of the most beautifully written music that is perfectly tied up with its poignant, strident libretto. I don’t know the complete history of how it’s formed and all that. But gosh, the music has outlived its time, and has remained just as dynamic and powerful as it’s always been.
It was last Saturday when I went to see a matinee of Les Mis. It was hard to describe how I felt hearing the iconic songs live for the very first time! “Look Down”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and “One Day More” surely sent chills down my spine. “Lovely Ladies” was just so raw and honest. “Castle on a Cloud” was so much more moving as I expected. “Master of the House” was an absolute shivoo. The big diva solos, “I Dreamed a Dream” and “On My Own” took me to an astonishing journey. It was all tasteful. It was all stirring.
This is not a review of the play because honestly, I don’t know how to properly write one for stage plays as breathtaking as that! But I just really need to note a few things:
- Brilliant production. And this entails everything visual pretty much—stage, overall design, digital technologies, lighting, props, costumes. It just all worked so beautifully together. What an efficient and impressive use of the theatre space. One of the many highlights was Javert’s suicide scene, where the LED screen basically worked the magic there, and made him look like he’s falling into a huge body of water until it ate him up. What they did took me by surprise. You gotta see it for yourself!
- Amazing music and sound properties. Acoustics were great in that theatre. Cues were “on point”. The overall sound was satisfying. I wish I was able to sit near the orchestra pit (or any spot where the muso’s were more visible), so I could just watch them in awe. Also, the war sound effects were pretty good and actually realistic—it would give me a sudden jolt a few times.
- The cast members were exceptional. They did not disappoint!
- Simon Gleeson (playing Jean Valjean) was just redoubtable. Geez, this guy. His character was so alive and true from the very start. He was the cornerstone of this show. 24601 was solid.
- Hayden Tee (playing Javert) was just so dang scary—he embodies the word “sinister.” His presence was imperative, and he was able to masterfully display authority and eminence the character requires.
- Zoe Gertz (playing Fantine) is to be admired by the authenticity of her character and her amazing vocal prowess. She was just 100%. The tragedy in Fantine’s grief-stricken life, the desperation, as well as the change she had to experience were well conveyed all throughout the first act.
- I felt so privileged to watch Trevor Ashley and Lara Mulcahy (playing Monsieur Thénardier and Madame Thénardier). They were perhaps the “life of the party.” They gave a sturdy and effective comic relief from the tragic nature of the story. They embodied dynamism and spontaneity from the start until the end.
- And of course Chloe Zuel (playing Eponine), Emily Langridge (playing Cosette), Euan Doidge (playing Marius), Zoy Frangos (playing Enjolras) who played such iconic roles were just fantastic! I particularly liked Euan’s vocal timbre that cautiously depicts the subdued innocence in Marius’ character; and Chloe’s soulful take on Eponine. Importantly, the Barricade people were plain awesome!
I wish I could comment on every single cast member. More importantly, I seriously wish that I was better at describing or evaluating things. I’ll make a real theatre review once I’ve learned how to write one up. Nevertheless, this is truly a blockbuster theatrical production! Go see it if you haven’t! It closes this October. Get your tickets here.
Here are some more photos I took home that day. No photography and/or video recording were allowed during the show as expected.