Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

Les Miserables (School Edition)

by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg

Performed: April 2012

(LTC Youth)

Les Miserables (School Edition) by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg

Review by Dave Stacey

TO THE BARRICADES! YOUNGSTERS' BREWHOUSE SHOW A 'MUST SEE'

Even though the story told in Victor Hugo’s massive tome was severely trimmed to turn it into a musical, Les Miserables remains a compelling masterpiece.

The School edition of the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, being performed this week entirely by students of Burton Little Theatre Youth at the Brewhouse, is a show not to be missed.

A large cast brings 19th century France to Burton depicting convicts in a chain gang, switching to scenes in a hospital, a provincial factory, an inn kept by an amoral couple, a Paris café, the barricades during a failed uprising and the sewers.

Jack Hawkins plays Jean Valjean, a convict who breaks his parole, changing his name and becoming a factory owner and a mayor.

He befriends a down-and-out woman, after whose death he devotes himself to raising her daughter as his own. His many changes of mood are vividly portrayed by Jack whose singing is outstanding. (He took over the role at short notice when Mitch Corner had to withdraw).

Edward Robinson as the law officer, Javert, who pursued him relentlessly for years, only to kill himself when, against what he saw as his duty, he showed mercy, gives an equally strong performance and is particularly impressive in his final soliloquy.

Extremely moving is Grace Clarke as Fantine, the woman whose death led to the hero’s pledge to care for her daughter. Rosie Copland-Mann as Cosette and Tom Dent as Marius, the man who fell in love with her – and especially Sophie Towns as the girl he rejected for his new love – sang their way into the hearts of an appreciative audience in Tuesday’s first night performance.

Fiona Waite and Jack Dent as the evil Thenardiers from the inn bring a welcome dash of comedy to the mix. Their song, Master of the House, is a rousing highlight.

Jim Haywood gives a notable performance as a young urchin who mixes with local beggars and then with the rebels who fight and die on the barricades.

Top marks must go to artistic director, John Bowness, musical director, Katie Hailstone and choreographer, Katie Haywood.

 

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