Thursday 16 January 2020

Les Miserables At The Sondheim Theatre Review

Last week I got to see my first musical of 2020, my first musical of this new decade in fact, and it was one of the longest running musicals in the West End, Les Miserables. Now, I'm usually much more about the modern musicals we have/have had in London e.g. Kinky Boots, & Juliet, Waitress but you can't deny that there are some classic musicals out there that are still running for a reason and Les Mis is one I've been a fan of for a while. I'm a huge fan of the film starring Hugh Jackman (if you've not been sure of Les Mis before, the film is a great place to start) and that's just made me fall in love with the music so when my 25th birthday was coming up, I knew what I wanted to do.
Les Miserables program held up in front of stage
25 felt like a really big deal to me and as I've said before, birthdays aren't always my favourite thing. I just get in my own head about it for several reasons, one usually being that the 'OMG I'M GETTING OLDER, LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS I SHOULD HAVE THAT I DON'T, WHEN WILL I DIE' feeling goes through my mind. I know, dramatic but I kind of am. And two, I just get paranoid that because I love treating other people on their birthday, that I won't get the same effort in return. And to be honest, a lot of the time I don't, this year a few things have really got to me but you know what it's over with now, I'll get over it. But that's why I wanted to do something special. I wanted a distraction but I also wanted to celebrate so for me nothing beats a trip to London. We've been loads over the last few years but it never loses that spark for me. I get the same excitement every single time and I don't think that will ever go. Now whenever we go to London we try and see a show so as I've already said, this time we picked Les Miserables and it was just all I hoped for and more.
View of the stage - Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre
The show actually only re-opened on the 18th December as the theatre has been closed and refurbished over Autumn so it automatically felt fresh and new, like it had an added boost which I suppose after running for 34 years, was needed. As the show had only been open again a few weeks, it meant a brand new cast had also started and it felt like a real treat to get to see some of these people - Jon Robyns, Bradley Jaden, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Shan Ako, Harry Apps and Mark Peace, just to name a few. I first of all have to say how amazing Jon Robyns was in the role of Jean Valjean. There are only small moments he's off stage so I can't begin to imagine how tiring the role must be, it certainly looks full on and the songs are incredibly powerful but he played it with ease. It just looked effortless for him, like he'd been doing it forever. Even more impressive to say he's not long ago finished as King George in Hamilton (we actually saw him in December 2018) so he's gone from a show where he's on stage for less than 15 minutes to a show where he's pretty much on all the time and it's certainly a contrast in characters so it just made me appreciate him even more. I also have to say how incredible Bradley Jaden is in the role of Javert. Stars is probably my favourite song from the musical so to see him sing that was truly a moment I won't ever forget. He just commanded the stage whenever he was on and he had that power and intensity you need for a man like Javert. Jon and Bradley make an outstanding pair and I think whoever gets to see them in these roles are incredibly lucky.
Les Miserables Photos - Johan Persson
I also have to mention the women of the show who I'm just in awe of. Both Carrie Hope Fletcher as Fantine and Shan Ako as Eponine brought the house down with their renditions of I Dreamed A Dream and On My Own and both definitely left me feeling a little emotional. Okay a lot, is that a surprise? I saw Carrie in Heathers in 2018 so it was lovely to see her again but in such a different role. We only had one understudy on as far as I'm aware and that was Mark Pearce in the role of
Thenardier in place of Matt Lucas. Mark was absolutely brilliant, so so funny whenever he was on stage and he and Josefina Gabrielle as Madame Thenadier were perfect together as these unlikable yet hilarious characters. The whole cast was outstanding though, you can tell they really pull together to put on the best show possible.

The show itself is just so special and I'm so happy I can now say I've seen it as it really does deserve all the success it's had over the years. The orchestra, the staging, the lighting, just everything about it comes together to put on a fantastic show for the audience. The story of Jean Valjean is a powerful one and whilst he does take centre stage for most of the show, I love that so many other characters like Fantine, Javert, Marius, Eponine and Cosette get to tell their story too and have their moment to shine. Songs like One Day More, Bring Him Home, Stars, I Dreamed A Dream and On My Own all felt like real moments in the show and I know I'll remember them forever.
Outside of Sondheim Theatre
I know this review probably comes across as one long ramble which to be honest it is, but I hope I got across what a spectacle Les Mis is and why if you're a theatre lover, I think it's a show to see. The Sondheim theatre is stunning and our seats in the royal circle were better than I could have predicted so everything just added to an amazing night. As the night was so special though, I don't think I'll be heading back to see Les Miserables again just yet, I want to keep the memories of that particular night alive for a bit longer, I just don't think it could be beaten but maybe I'll change my mind in a year or two!

I'd love to know if you've seen Les Miserables? Have you got any theatre trips planned for 2020?

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rewuest said...

Les Mis is my all-time favorite musical! I've seen it both on Broadway (2015) and West End (2018) in addition to seeing it in my home state (Arizona) when I was younger... only to end up working at that same theater through university! I think Hadestown is going to start touring in the Fall so I'd love to see it this year.

Rachel ||

Jyoti said...

I have not seen this but would love to watch! Wonderful Post! Have a great day!

Nic said...

I saw Les Miserables, a long time ago when it was at a different theatre, it was good :)

Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

Hannah said...

I'm so glad you had a good time! How amazing that they're revamped the theatre, it sounds like it really helped the atmosphere xx

Hannah | luxuryblush

jennyinneverland said...

I have very similar feelings around my birthday and 25 was the worst! So totally understand where you're coming from there. I absolutely can't stand the film Les Mis but I would like to see it on stage for sure! I'd love to see Carrie perform! x


Heather Nixon said...

I haven't seen it - I want to read the book first x

Daisy said...

I'm desperate to see this in person! I've heard all the songs, seen the film and watched the celebrations so it's time I actually saw it! Haha!

Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

Lady Writes said...

Oh wow this looks amazing, I'd LOVE to go and see this! x

Sophie said...

I'm glad you had a good time and enjoyed the cast! I've never seen Les Mis but I'd love to at some point. It sounds like a lovely way to spend your birthday too x


Tiffany Timms said...

Wow! I'm so glad I managed to see it in London finally. I've heard a lot about Hadestown, I need to listen to the soundtrack! xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you x

Tiffany Timms said...

I'm so glad I got to see it x

Tiffany Timms said...

Yeah it definitely gave it something extra! It just all felt brand new xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Ahh I'm glad it's not just me. I always feel like I'm over-reacting when it comes to my birthday but I think really a lot of people probably have the same feelings. Carrie was brilliant! Really glad I got to see her again xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Ooh if you read the book let me know how you find it, I think it would be a bit of a challenge! x

Tiffany Timms said...

Haha I hope you get chance to see it one day. It was everything I hoped it would be x

Tiffany Timms said...

It was honestly brilliant xx

Tiffany Timms said...

It was the perfect way to spend the day, I knew I'd want to do something special so seeing a show is always top of my list xx

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