Les Misérables UK Tour: A Review
The musical phenomenon is back! Les Misérables has embarked on its UK tour and is making its way across England with dates confirmed until summer 2020. Cameron Mackintosh, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil’s original production is revived, directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell. This production of the much-loved musical originated in Cardiff, 2009, where the idea for a UK tour first came about. It was originally exclusive to the UK, however, due to its immense popularity, this production quickly replaced the original, (which can now only be seen exclusively at the Queen’s Theatre in the West End).
Another story truly must begin, as the new version is adapted to be performed without the legendary revolving stage, therefore new set pieces are introduced. Matt Kinley and Paule Constable (set designers) take author Victor Hugo’s lesser-known paintings and use them in an extraordinary and revolutionary way. The paintings are used as backdrops to bring in vivid colours and life to the past, to convey revolutionary France, and the hard work pays off as each scene is intertwined with the brilliant atmosphere that Hugo’s story and paintings portray.
The musical is based on the Victor Hugo novel and takes place in post-revolutionary France spanning 17 years (1815-1832). It centres around the character of Jean Valjean, (Killian Donnelly), who is an ex-convict trying to assimilate himself back into society. He struggles at the beginning until a kind priest takes him in and shows him the better path. Fast forward to 1823, Jean Valjean has become the Mayor of Montreuil-Sur-Mer, where he dons a new disguise and is very much the people’s man. As the story progresses, we see Valjean help those who are in desperate need, such as Fantine’s daughter Cosette (played by Katie Hall and Bronwen Hanson respectively), and later, the children of the barricade. This is an epic story about love and redemption, which is executed brilliantly by the current touring cast.
[Production Photo from Les Misérables Tour]
Killian Donnelly is astounding as Jean Valjean. He brings to live Valjean’s kindness and strength and dazzles the audience through his solos Who Am I? and Bring Him Home. As you watch, you experience every emotion – the heartbreak Valjean suffers, the desperation, the longing and ultimately the love he has for others. Other remarkable performances came from Nic Greenshields as the dutifully loyal Javert, especially when he gives a rendition of Stars. The comic duo that is the Thenardier’s, (Martin Ball and Sophie-Louise Dann) offer a bit of tongue-in-cheek with the playful Master of the House, with Harry Apps and Tegan Bannister portraying the friendship of Marius and Eponine beautifully in A Little Fall of Rain.
A few of the best moments from the show was Donnelly’s rendition of Bring Him Home. The audience was hardly breathing as Donnelly poured his heart and soul into the song. Also, young star App heartbreakingly sang a chilling and eerie version of Empty Chair On Empty Tables, which brought a tear to one’s eye.
Over 70,000,000 people have seen this musical worldwide, and there’s no wonder why. It is a beautiful masterpiece that is full of love, friendship, heartbreak, and passion. It is a musical that stands the test of time, as the lyrics hit home with what is happening around the world in this present day. “Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise” is the message of Les Misérables.
The UK tour comes to the Liverpool Empire Theatre Wednesday 9th October till Saturday 26th October 2019. Do not miss out!
Tickets are available here: