tonight my crew and I went to see Les Mis.
was the strangest mix of locals i had ever seen at the cinema – am guessing many of them were not regular cinema goers, but like myself do LOVE a good show!.
I was very excited at one level, and at another i was dreading going…i love the stage version so much that i didn’t want to lose any of the atmosphere in the translation from one medium to another. The other reason i had for not really wanting to go, was that i know every note musically inside and out , every voice-part, and every song …note by note. And as a singer, and musical director how is it possible to enjoy without writing the review..
But we went.
And I tried to detach the critical head. THAT DIDN’T REALLY WORK… 😦
So..overview…spectacular! From the opening scene the scale and the detail given to the production was fabulous. The Overture was powerful – initially on a scale of vast dynamics..but it settled in very well. The characters in opening scene, and all the small solo-lines throughout were very well set vocally and dramatically.
First impressions of Hugh Jackman – (Jean valJean) – dramatically very strong and vocally well in control of the recitative like faster set sections. But he did disappointment me in “Bring him home” – it was set at the extremes of his vocal range, and he couldn’t control it in a Colm Wilkinson pp and falsetto. So it was for me his one flawed piece – but it was the big one. He was really strong dramatically, so overall will give him a THUMBS UP!
Anne Hathaway (as Fantine) was superb. Vocally, dramatically…the full package. And she looked so frail and was brilliantly directed. The emotional delivery in I dreamed a dream was as good as i have seen anywhere on stage.
The crowd scenes…prostitutes, slaves, Parisian poor, factory workers are very well chosen and directed!.
The real treat for me – and a justifiable HAD TO cast in the film was the fact that Colm Wilkinson was there as the Archbishop. Once he opened his mouth to sing, even in the small part he had the vocal quality was there. It really will always be His show for me 🙂
Javert was Russell Crowe . didn’t like him! He had very little to do dramatically bar look grumpy, and menacing, and in last scene confused.. but vocally – what the hell were they at? He wasn’t a singer – he didn’t have any depth or resonance to his voice nor did he project it well. It was really disappointing Why did they feel the need to set an A-ish-lister at the cost of losing a really major vocalist?
The student’s scenes were very well done and the energy and the naivety of youth was well depicted in the barricade scene.
Vocally LOVED Eponine, and Gavroche. They were singers – both very comfortable with their parts and extremely comfortable as vocal performers and actors. Her songs very emotionally depicted- and i always feel ” a little fall of rain” is undervalued as a song.
The Thenardiers were excellent – Sascha Baren Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. Perfect for the parts!
Marius – Eddie Redmayne – stole the show for me…i love the role of Marius, it needs great vocal range and control. We got that PLUS a superbly moving “Empty Chairs at empty tables”. That moved me to tears.
Cosette…isn’t a big part – a bit light, girly i suppose – but always feel drawn to Eponine. But her voice and looks suited the ethereal quality and vocal setting.
Final Scene…. transferred brilliantly and very naturally from behind the stage gauze to a vast spectacular finale.
Overall – A very very well done – without loosing integrity change of medium and scale.
Russell Crowe….less said…better!