|So...many...roses... but I like how it turned out ^^|
Last night, my Dad and I went to see a local theatre group perform Les Misérables. The only other time I had ever seen Les Mis on stage was when I saw the 25th Anniversary Tour in 2011, so I was thrilled to see it again. There were some goofs, but only things that nerd like me would notice. I really enjoyed it. All of the leads were phenomenal! Here we go!
We started in Toulon with the convicts. Look Down was well done. As soon as the audience met Jean Valjean and Javert, I knew that we were in for a real treat. Valjean was then released and off to find his way in the world with his yellow ticket. Javert really treated Valjean like scum. He dropped Valjean’s items and the ticket at his feet instead of handing them to him like another person! I also liked when Valjean says, “In their eyes, I can see their fear: We do not want you here!” When he says it, he advances towards the workers and points at them. Like he is ridiculing them for their prejudices.
We then get to the Bishop. I really liked this Bishop. Valjean is kneeling at the corner of the stage, wondering how in the heck he is going to spend the night, when the Bishop kneels beside him. He begins his part and Valjean thrusts his yellow ticket in the Bishop’s face. The Bishop just pushes it aside and keeps going. Valjean does this again, and the Bishop pushes it away again. I loved that. Valjean is then welcomed in, eats, takes the silver, and runs offstage to be returned by the police. I found the scene with the police interesting too. When the Bishop dismisses them, one bows to the Bishop (apparently he’s a religious man) and the other smacks Valjean with his stick before leaving with this comrade. Valjean is then left to his soliloquy. During this, he is holding the candlestick and looking at it, almost singing to it, as though he can’t believe what he is holding. He got dangerously close to the orchestra pit, and even threw his ripped up ticket in there.
We then go to the factory. Unfortunately, this scene was on the weaker side. Some of the workers just didn’t have the vocal capacities. Their foreman was an older man, so At the End of the Day was a little creepier. At one point, the formean makes Fantine kiss him on the cheek so that she can have her letter. Their Fantine did well. Her I Dreamed a Dream made me tear up. When she got to “He slept a summer by my side…” she actually was looking at that necklace they have all the Fantines wear (it wasn’t a choker like in other productions, more like a locket). So, the necklace now made sense! It wasn’t “Oh here, let me sell this random jewelry that I have…”. It was like she had a picture of him in there or it was a gift from him or something. She even kissed it which made the connection clearer.
Ahhhh, Lovely Ladies . The song that I love to hate. Umm, Fantine did well selling her things. They gave her a wig when they cut her hair, but it was really close to her original hair color, so I was able to believe that she had had her hair cut. One part did make me laugh was when one of the whores says “Cost a little extra if you want to take all year” and the man she is talking to picks her up and flings her over his shoulder before walking offstage! Just like that! I was interested in one part that I didn’t remember. During the song, one of the whores has a solo about how her life is at the moment. The pimp catches her complaining and yells at her. I didn’t remember that.
Batambois was definitely a jerk, no surprise there. Again, Javert did his part very well in Fantine’s Arrest. I liked how Valjean didn’t just come on stage and interrupt Javert. He came on slowly, talking with some of the whores and their customers before approaching Javert. He was getting the full story. Then, of course, The Runaway Cart. Valjean saves Fauchlevent and Javert is confused. We then have Who Am I? which was spectacular. He nailed the 2-4-6-0-1! He then looks at Javert and says, “You can find me at the hospital!” and runs off stage with Javert chasing him! I had to laugh.
Fantine’s Death was heartbreaking. They had little Cosette in a white dress, sitting in the corner playing with a doll as Fantine was dying. When she dies, Valjean buries his face in the mattress. You can see that he is mourning her loss…when he is interrupted by Javert. Confrontation was not as intense as I have seen in the past. The singing was, but the action not so much. Valjean attacked Javert with a chair and Javert whacked the chair with his stick. I’ve seen better.
Little Cosette was great. Her Castle on a Cloud was just adorable. Madame Thenardier was crazy! Like she is supposed to be, but still. Little Eponine was really cute too. Thenardier was funny. Master of the House was a blast. Madame Thenardier really got into her part when she was trashing on her husband! She even got up on the table for her last part (“Raise it up the Master’s ass!”). Then, Cosette goes and Valjean finds her. This was adorable as well. During the Waltz of Treachery I was surprised to see Eponine in the background. She was sitting under a table, watching everything until close to the end of the song. Valjean then takes Cosette and gives her some new clothes (black like in the book!) and a doll. So cute.
Then we went to Paris in 1832, or Look Down. Gavroche was taller than I expected, but he did a great job. His personality shone! When Enjolras and Marius walked in, I was excited. They were both wearing coats with tails (I love coats with tails)! I had to laugh because they had Enjolras kneel down to give some food/money to some beggars and they were all girls. Even then, the girls liked him. Anyways, Marius bumps into Cosette and Valjean is attacked. Javert shows up, ends up saving Valjean, and scares the crap out of everyone. Javert then goes to a bridge and sings Stars. We had an awesome Javert. Gavroche then pops up and does his little bit. What an awesome kid. Eponine’s Errand was well done too. I really could believe that Eponine loved Marius, and that it was one-sided. Definite friend-zoning there.
Then, we go to the Café. I was totally surprised because Enjolras was already in his red and gold vest! Usually, they wait until One Day More to have him wear it! My Dad was laughing at me because my jaw about fell off of my face. Anyways, Red and Black was awesome. When Grantaire gets up to mock Marius, Enjolras reaches out a hand like he is going to stop him, but stops. He just shakes his head and lets Grantaire do his thing. Then, they changed one of the lines. I don’t know if it was an accident or not. Instead of “Who cares about your lonely soul?” Enjolras said “No one cares about your lonely soul!”. I think I was the only one who laughed. That was so harsh! (This Enjolras also had a look that seemed to say “forget this crap” whenever someone on stage was having a romantic moment while he there. Haha) I also noticed Enjolras was drinking a little bit. That makes sense later on. Then Gavroche arrives and we hear that Lamarque is dead. Enjolras did a good job transitioning between “Oh no, Lamarque is dead. He was representing us, the people.” to “It’s barricade time!”. I love Do You Hear the People Sing, and it was awesome!
Transition to Cosette. In My Life was fine. Marius arrives, picks a flower, and climbs over the gate to see her. I had to laugh because she just looked at him and smiled. Sorry, but I wouldn’t be that calm if a strange man fell into my garden! In the book, she nearly faints! Anyways, he gives her the flower and they sing A Heart Full of Love. They were very cute. Poor Eponine. Although, Eponine does a great job “saving the day” and stopping Thenardier. Something that confused me though was that Madame Thenardier was with her husband and Patron Minette for that scene! I didn’t think she was there in the show? Anyways, they run and Valjean arrives. He assumes it is Javert and we are ready for One Day More…which was awesome!
They had a very interesting barricade. Instead of a front or back view of the barricade, they had it at a three-quarters angle. So, you were with the students, but you could see both sides of the barricade (I don’t know if that makes sense…I may have to draw it). Anyways, preparations for the barricade are made. Javert is caught as a spy, Eponine is sent with a letter, and the students want this to start already. Little People was so funny! Gavroche got right up in Javert’s face when he was singing! During the first attack, Enjolras kept pulling pistols out of his tri-color and I was like “How many pistols do you have?!” (He actually only had two, but still!) Eponine then takes the letter to Valjean, and she stays cose by to hear him read it aloud. He then exits the scene and Eponine launches into On My Own. She did very well. Shortly after that, Eponine returns to the barricade and sings A Little Fall of Rain with Marius before she dies. All of the students and the women who are still at the barricade stand around them, watching. Some of the students are comforting the women, and some of them are comforting eachother. After the song, while they carried away Eponine’s body, Marius buried his face in Enjolras’s shoulder and cried.
We then return to the barricade and Valjean arrives. He saves them at the barricade and asks permission to kill Javert. Enjolras agrees and they go off to the side. To “convince” Javert that he really should get going, Valjean keeps threatening him with his knife. I imagine it a little freaky to have him holding a knife to your throat while singing “You are wrong and always have been wrong…” The deed “done”, we return to the students who are settling down for the night. Drink With Me was very somber. They were all just sitting there watching eachother. And the look on everyone’s faces when Grantaire sang…so sad. They soon go to sleep and Enjolras is the only one awake. Valjean, who was not on stage and therefore did not hear Marius talk about Cosette, asks Enjolras quietly which one is Marius. A nice touch, considering Valjean’s absence. He then sings Bring Him Home. This is where I dissolved into a puddle of tears. The first time. Day breaks and Enjolras tells the women and fathers of children to get out. What is interesting is, he touches Valjean’s shoulder when he says that, but Valjean’s like “Nope, you’re stuck with me.”
The barricade is under attack again. An enemy soldier attempts to attack the barricade from above, but Enjolras shoots him. They then talk about going to raid the bodies and Gavroche climbs up the barricade to go out, when he is shot. The interesting thing is, everyone is facing Gavroche except Enjolras. With every shot, they all wince like they were the ones being shot at. When Gavroche dies, they all take it hard. Enjolras actually falls to his hands and knees and some of the students (Grantaire especially) appear to be clinging to the barricade so they don’t fall over. Well, another attack begins and this is it. The students are furious at what has happened and they are going to give these soldiers Hell.
Now, I have never seen a production do the deaths this way. Normally, they seem to die in slow motion, but this time they didn’t. They all died, until Enjolras was left. You could tell he was wounded, the way he was hunched over, but he grabbed that red flag and climbed his way to the top of the barricade. He didn’t make it all the way to the top before he was shot by the soldier he thought he had killed previously. Marius ended up practically on the other side of the barricade, and I have no idea how he got over there. Valjean arrives and looks through the students for Marius. You can see his shock and grief as he realizes that they have all been killed. He even buries his face in one of the students’ (I think it was Feuilly) shoulders for a moment before grabbing Marius. They actually had Marius still semi-conscious. Probably to save their Valjean the effort of carrying him around. Dog Eats Dog was all right. I’ve never been much in love with the song.
Javert arrived and went after Valjean. They changed a line here too. Instead of, “…he’s standing in his grave.” he said, “…he’s lying in his grave.” Javert lets them go and goes to the Seine. They did a great job with his suicide. When he got to “There is no way to go Oooooooooooooooon!” he just fell over backwards behind the bridge! It was kind of spooky.
We then see Marius sitting by himself, thinking of the barricade. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables made me sob quietly in my seat. Remember how I mentioned the students drinking? Well, when Marius sang, the students all came out carrying cups from the Café (Gavroche was there too, but he didn’t have one. Grantaire also had his customary bottle rather than a cup). They all stood there, frozen, like it was Marius’s memory…and then they all raised their glasses in a toast when Marius said, “And I can hear them now!” It was like the candles all over again! Then, at the end, they all walk off except for Enjolras. Enjolras then looks at Marius and smiles at him before walking off. It was so amazing.
Cosette returns and we have the reprise to A Heart Full of Love, which was fine. It transitioned well to Valjean’s Confession. The Wedding was beautiful. Everyone was waltzing when the Thenardiers came in. Their outfits were an eye sore. Like they are supposed to be. Thenardier reveals that Valjean saved Marius and the newlyweds rush off, after Marius punches Thenardier.
Valjean is sitting by himself with his candlesticks and a cross. He sings his little bit and then Fantine arrives all in white with her long hair back. Then Cosette arrives. Then Marius. Valjean was so affectionate with Cosette. It was heartbreaking. Eponine then arrived and Valjean died. Then, everyone came onstage to sing the final reprise to Do You Hear the People Sing?. By the end, I was on my feet and clapping like a maniac.
All in all, it was very well done. Much better than I was expecting for a local theatre group!
After the show, I waited where the actors came out so I could talk to their guy playing Enjolras. He came out and I rushed over to him. I told him that he did a great job and that his character was my favorite in the story. I then asked him if I could get a picture with him. He said yes and my dad took a picture of us! I’ll have to draw a copy of it. He was such a nice guy! Shortly after that, we went home.