Guest Reviewer: Hayley Makepeace
Star rating: ****
Wow, what can I say, but go and book your tickets for this show now, it is pure value for money!
Cameron Mackintosh gives an incredibly cinematic production of Boublil & Schonberg’s musical, Les Miserables. The fantastic score along with top vocals and ﬂawless lighting provide a visual feast, as though you are watching a real life Hollywood blockbuster.
Being familiar with Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, but having never seen the stage version before, I found the character developments hard to follow and wasn’t always sure of their place in the story. Like War & Peace, this epic tale runs quickly through time periods. You need to have a keen ear on the lyrics to keep up with the plot. The songs are highly emotional and permit the characters to share their innermost thoughts and feelings with a passion the audience would ﬁnd hard not to be moved by. First class performances resonated the theatre and during the second half there were many a sniﬄe and rustle of tissues amongst the audience. However, I expected Cosette to be far more prominent, and instead found Eponine to be more integral in this production. Tegan Bannister, as Eponine, gave a passionate and captivating performance of ‘On My Own’. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself taking this away as my highlight of the evening.
In a very dark and serious story, the Thenardier’s give a welcome light relief and raised a lot of laughter with their amusing antics. I found the touch of colour in their costumes to be endearing. As I anticipated, Sophie Louise Dann is phenomenal as Madame Thenardier and as usual did not fail to disappoint with her strong stage presence.
Visually this show is spectacular especially during the barricades, although disappointingly the stage does not revolve in this production. I was particularly taken with the use of Victor Hugo’s drawings in the backdrops. These, together with the use of very dark lighting accentuated the atmosphere of deep political & social unrest.
Overall I’d say this show is a must see and judging by the entire audience giving a heartfelt standing ovation, I’d say I’m not alone in my recommendation!
Best Availability Monday to Thursday performances. Call the theatre’s dedicated Les Misérables booking line on 01908 547669 (open Monday to Saturday, 12 – 6pm) or visit: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/les-miserables/milton-keynes-theatre/. Check daily for returns and last minute ticket releases.