Tuesday, 23 October 2007

THOUGHTS: Les Miserables

Recently passing its 22nd anniversary in the West End and celebrating the first anniversary of its revival on Broadway, Cameron Mackintosh decided to swap leading actors in Les Miserables. Fans of the show should make an effort to get to the Queens Theatre before Drew Sarich leaves in six months, as he carries over all of the talent, vocal prowess, and depth that he had in the Broadway production. The rest of the cast are fine, though the RZ preferred Ann Harada as Mme. Thernadier and Max von Essen as Enjorlas to their London counterparts.

That said, the RZ doesn’t much care for the show itself - it’s three hours long, feels like it, and features far, far too many reprises (especially of “I Dreamed a Dream”.) As Peter Brook write in his 1968 book The Empty Space, “One associates culture with a certain sense of duty, historical costumes and long speeches with the sensation of being bored; so, conversely, just the right degree of boringness is a reassuring guarantee of a worthwhile event.” (p. 13) In the RZ’s opinion, this is the only way that Les Miz can still be running after so long. While the RZ has great respect John Napier’s set design and David Hersey’s lights (even if he doesn’t like them), they don’t provide enough eye candy to validly sluice one’s attention from the people’s moans. If any of this site’s readers are unfamiliar with Les Miserables, the RZ recommends downloading the parodies from Forbidden Broadway - you’ll get all you need.

Where: Queens Theatre
When: Until infinity, most likely, M-Sa 7:30 pm, W/Sa 2:30 PM
Cost: £15-55
Concessions: £27.50 best available stalls with student ID, available 60 min. prior to curtain. ONLY ONE TICKET PER ID. Delfont-Mackintosh houses have the worst student rates in the West End, so be aware before you go.
RZ Unofficial “Worth Paying”: £15 for Drew Sarich (one of few actors of whom the RZ is an unashamed fanboy), £25 to see what the fuss is about if you’ve never gone and have an evening to kill.
RZ Other Notes: I’m sure I’ve lost half of the people who read this previously by posting a nasty review of Les Miz, but I really find the show mind numbingly dull - if I could have slept through the entire fight on the barricade I would have, and only went a second time to see Mr. Sarich’s first night. Les Miz fans are welcome (and encouraged!) to post nasty comments.

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