Page 55

REVIEWS:THEATRE Les Misérables (Boublil & Schönberg) The Hippodrome, Birmingham 4.5 “Les Misérables” is celebrating its 25th anniversary by taking to the road for a touring production of the critically acclaimed show. With over a 10 year gap since the Birmingham Hippodrome last hosted the show it’s been a long wait. Adapted from Victor Hugo’s novel by Alain Boubil and ClaudeMichel, and brought to the West End by Cameron Mackintosh the show first opened at the Barbican Theatre on October 8th 1985, it’s 25 year West End run is a testament to the popularity and durability of Les Mis. Set against a backdrop of 19th century France, Les Miserables tells the story of the life of Jean Valjean from the day he is released on parole, after serving 19 years for stealing only a loaf of bread. There are many twists and turns to his tale and the audience rides a rollercoaster of emotions as his story unfolds. We experience the love between Valjean and his adopted daughter Cosette, and then her love for the young revolutionary Marius. The ongoing tension between Valjean and Jalvert, the merciless officer of the law trying to track him down. And the pure spirit of human nature as the students lead the revolution in the hope of a better life singing the “music of the people who will not be slaves again.” There is Hair (MacDermot, Rado, Ragni) Gielgud Theatre, London 4/5 When Hair firstly premiered in Broadway in 1968, it was definitely the dawning of the age of musical, making things a bit more underground, keeping it mainstream (as much as possible) but also providing the hippie generation with their own musical anthem. After almost e2 years, “Hair” is back, and a new generation can discover a soundtrack of an iconic generation. Bringing the original revived Broadway production cast to the West, Cameron Mackintosh (theatre producer) has once again showed his wits and has staged a musical in the West End, that I would not be surprised if it runs for quite a few years. The cast are oozing with talent and energy and most of the audience finds themselves actually quite tired by the end of the first act, as their brain and eyes are hungry to absorb anything they

even some comedy sprinkled in by the “Master of the House” Thenardier and his buxom wife. The leading man John Owen-Jones has already proven his worth starring in the West End version, and has been voted ‘Best Valjean’ and ‘Best Les Mis Performer Ever’ in a worldwide online poll of fans of the show. With his strength of character and enormous stage presence he could almost carry the show on his own. The surprise of the evening and definitely worth a mention is Gareth Gates as Marius. Better know for “Pop Idol” and “Dancing on Ice”, I must admit to being slightly apprehensive as to how he would fair. Although no rival to Owen-Jones he played the role of Marius well, proving himself a versatile performer, capturing the audience with his emotional performance of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.” With new scenery and staging inspire by Victor Hugo’s paintings and a multitude of songs known worldwide, this is one show not to be missed! Kim Harrell “Les Misérables” continues to tour the UK alongside it’s London West End Residency: www.lesmis.com

see on stage. A bit out-dated, but with music that still gets mostly everyone’s foot tapping, “Hair” is a musical experience that needs to be seen, heard and experienced. So energetic, to the point sometimes that it feels like you are visiting a theme park, it takes you from its first minute to a journey of drugs, sex, racism, sexuality, religion, astrology and everything else that the 60’s generation felt they needed to raise their voice over the puritan society that was the norm at that time. And if you are seated at the stalls, remember to run up on stage at the end and dance with the cast under the sound of “Let the Sun Shine”; it is surreal, but also so so much fun!! George Mathioudakis

55

Profile for The Kaje

The Kaje, Issue 1 (May 2010)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 1 takes a look at: Alexan...

The Kaje, Issue 1 (May 2010)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 1 takes a look at: Alexan...

Profile for the_kaje