WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Queen’s Theatre
WHEN: 6/1, runs to 10/16
Billed on its official website as the ‘world’s longest running musical’, is Les Misérables sprinting ahead, keeping pace or losing puff?
We used the Society of London Theatre’s Get Into London Theatre promotion, see link below, to buy £70 dress circle seats for £30 off at this Wednesday evening performance and went home happy.
We hadn’t seen Phil (Quadrophenia, Blur’s Parklife) Daniels (pictured above) since his Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra at the Globe Theatre in 2014 and his turn as ‘master of the house’ Thénardier here was our highlight.
For those unfamiliar with the story it begins in 1815 in France, spans 17 years and ends with the Paris rebellion. It is essentially the redemption tale of ex-convict Valjean who adopts an orphan looked after by the no-good Thénardier and becomes embroiled in the rebellion.
Unusually for so many musicals it has a songbook brimming with showstoppers. The choreography with which numbers including At The End Of The Day, Master Of The House and Beggars At The Feast are realised bring to mind extravagant pop videos. The heartbreak (with a dash of hope) in I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own and Bring Him Home give some sense that all is not joy and jazz hands.
Les Mis opened in October 1985, is the West End’s longest running show, undergoes a recasting mid February and for us could do with a little bit of a rethink. We found the rotating stage a little dated and would’ve preferred some speech in the midst of all the songs.
But on this midweek early January it was rapturously received (certainly amongst the best West End receptions we’ve ever witnessed) and appeared sold out with no ticket discounts greater than the one mentioned below.
Unlikely to close anytime soon then, packed with great tunes and currently boasting a fantastically mischievous Phil Daniels appearance.