Reviewed by Kim Bickerdike
We arrived at the Liverpool Empire Theatre and after a quick drink we took our seats. The theatre was packed with not a spare seat in the house. There was an electric atmosphere throughout the audience with a sense of excitement about what we were all about to witness. The stage was set with a dark and eerie scene, the music thundered and the show was about to begin
Set in 19th Century France, this production of Les Misérables is a fast-paced adaptation of the classic story of the French Revolution and takes the audience on a journey through the life of prisoner 24601 from incarceration to redemption. This story is told via music and song from start to finish with every word being sung with gusto and passion. This well-known production is jam packed with much loved classics including many outstanding solo performances such as ‘I dreamed a dream, Who Am I? Stars and Bring Him Home’. Each one of these led to a rapturous round of applause and left many audience members wiping tears away from their eyes.
Jean Valjean is the lead in this performance and is played by Killian Donnelly who was exceptional and sang every song with feeling and intensity. He was faultless and depicted the many twists and turns of Jean Valjean tumultuous life. His voice was soft yet powerful and like no other I have heard on a stage, he travelled through the entire audio spectrum and was perfect throughout the entire production.
Other stand out performances were Javert (played by Nic Greensheilds), Fantine (played by Katie Hall), Eponine (played by Tegan Bannister) and the youngest members of the cast who played the roles of Young Casette and Gavroche who provided a heart-warming performance and provided the audience with many funny and touching moments. The scene where Gavroches life was brutally taken from him left tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It was an incredible spectacle from such a young actor.
Les Misérables is renowned for being a heavy story but there was plenty of comedy littered throughout courtesy of Thenardier (played by Martin Ball) and Madame Thenardier (played by Sophie-Louise Dann). Both had the audience laughing out loud on more than one occasion. These unsavoury characters navigate their way through life by exploiting anyone they meet. They are the villains you love to hate but the clever writing and light relief they offered was masterful and welcomed by the audience.
Throughout the entire performance there are many detailed, quick and varied set changes which add a fantastic and breath-taking element to this show. Every detail and aspect has been thought through, from the beautiful bright starry sky to the intensity of the battle of The Revolution from behind the barricades. There are stunning projections along with lighting and sound effects which transport the audience and tell their own story alongside the epic musical sensation which is happening on the stage
The foundation of this production is the orchestra conducted by Ben Atkinson. They were perfect throughout the whole performance which lasted for 3 hours and their musical artistry was a masterpiece. The passion in the music was tangible and I could feel every note and word in every song, it was such a unique and special experience.
This show takes you through a journey of emotions. I laughed, cried and It is by far the best theatre production I have ever seen and I would urge everyone to get tickets to see this show. An unforgettable performance and an unforgettable night
The performance finished with a full cast musical extravaganza and before the music had finished the audience were on their feet providing the most deserved and prolonged standing ovation I have ever witnessed. Every actor, musician and crew member have really managed to pull together a truly outstanding and memorable occasion.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Les Misérables is at the Liverpool Empire from 9-26 October 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017