Les Miserables Review from 1997

  • Date:
    Monday, September 1, 1997
    Review by:
    Sven Verlinden

    Last Tuesday, I went to see the updated version of the show, when John Owen Jones was Valjean (alternate) and Alan Vicary (normally he does the Bishop-part but plays Javert until Ethan Freeman comes in).

    Silvie Paladino was Fantine and Gemma Wardle was Eponine. They were both very good and particularly Silvie was very good (she sounds a lot like Grania Renihan). The Thénardiers were Nick Holder (he was amazing, very different than others I’ve seen, but very funny) and Liz Ewing, who did a very good job too. Marius was Graham Bruce, but he was just awful. He ruined Empty Chairs !!!! Cosette was Annalene Beechey, and she keeps playing it with the enthusiasm of last year, when I saw her for the first time. Glyn Kerslake, one of my favorite performers in the West End, was still the perfect Enjolras: he should be given an Olivier Award or something like that, only for his efforts to make this part work !! I must mention Tim Morgan, because he’s the best Feuilly I’ve seen, and should get the part of Marius very soon IMO !!! Now, how was J.O. Jones, you ask ? Well, he’s much too young for my tastes, and doesn’t have a thrilling voice either. The one thing I liked him for, was the fact that he aged during the show, a thing I haven’t seen much before; the problem is that his voice doesn’t do this !!

    A.Vicary was not as thrilling as McCarthey or Quast, but he’s not bad. I was very interested to see Ethan Freeman, but alas he wasn’t in yet. Maybe, I’ll catch him later... O yes, the actual changes: well it’s much brighter and new now (the lighting and costumes that is). The musical changes were not disturbing (e.g. the new scene with Valjean and young Cosette),but I didn’t like it the way the little song of Enjolras during the battle on the barricades ("Let others rise, to take our place...") was speeded up!: it really ruined that lovely song. So, I think it’ worth the money to go and see it again, but probably you have to see it when Ethan Freeman plays Javert !!!

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