Spend An Evening With Me At Les Miserables - The Staged Concert

11 September 2019

If you have been following my blog for a while or follow me on instagram or twitter then you will know I absolutely love going to the theatre. I pretty much spend all my free time catching up with my friends and then going to a west end show. It is just something that makes me so happy. A couple of weeks ago me and one of my best friends, Beki decided to take a trip to see Les Miserables. However it was the concert version. It was absolutely incredible. If you weren't already aware the Queens Theatre that held Les Miserables is currently being refurbished and has been renamed the Sondheim Theatre. Whilst this work is undergoing the show has been moved to the Gielgud Theatre literally next door however it's not the full musical. Instead Cameron Mackintosh and his team have decided to put on a concert version with some of the biggest names in the West End right now. As soon as this was announced I knew I had to get tickets. Keep reading to find out more about how I spent the day.

On the day I was due to go and see the show I was actually working. Luckily I was an early shift but it meant I did have to change at work before heading into London. The afternoon started with me and Beki heading into Chiquitos in Leicester Square for something to eat. This was the perfect location as it's easy access for both of us to get to and also it's about a 5 minute walk to the theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue so it just seemed like the ideal spot to meet up. The food in Chiquitos is amazing. We both chose to have fried chicken strips as a starter followed by me choosing to have a fried chicken wrap with fries and salad and then washing it all down with a pink gin and lemonade which I am officially obsessed with. After we had food we spent time catching up and then Beki surprised me with a little bag of birthday presents that she very kindly gave to me and I am so grateful! As you can see from the collage above I've included a photo after opening one of the presents she bought me which was a candle with my name on. I was clearly very, very happy. After this we headed round to the theatre which was about a 5 minute walk from the restaurant.

Like I have mentioned above the Gielgud Theatre is right next door to the Sondheim Theatre where Les Miserables normally is but has been moved to this smaller theatre so that people can still continue to enjoy the story and music of the show whilst the theatre is getting refurbished. We were there roughly 35 minutes before the show began but we chose to just wonder in and have a look at some of the merchandise on sale as well as grabbing a programme each.We also had a mini photoshoot outside the theatre as I think it looks so stunning with all the signs and show displays.

Beki had opted to pick up the tickets from the theatre on the day so going inside early was definitely the best decision so we could pick up the tickets and just not have to rush around last minute. Inside the main foyer there was a cast list as well so you could see who was performing on the night and what roles they were playing.

Now for the exciting bit - the concert. Walking into the auditorium I was amazed at how intimate it was. Beki & I were sat at the end of the front row and we couldn't believe just how close we were to the stage. As you can see from the photos above we really couldn't have got any closer. I absolutely loved how the stage was set up with microphones all along the front of the stage and a little seating area for the other cast members to sit and watch the performances themselves throughout the show on either side of the stage. I also absolutely loved how the orchestra were on stage with the actors so you could also see them a lot clearer. They were all absolutely incredible. Obviously being a smaller theatre they didn't really have much to work with in terms of the set design but I still thought it was amazing and I loved how they used the lights, other props and made the most of what they had to make it as close to the theatrical version they possibly could.

No review of the show would be complete without a review of the cast and I must say this cast is absolutely incredible and one of the best I think I've ever seen. Jean Val Jean is played by Alfie Boe with John Owen Jones taking over a few days during the week. The night we went we saw John Owen Jones and he is absolutely incredible. I saw him in Phantom of the Opera as the Phantom a couple of years ago and was absolutely thrilled when I found out I'd be seeing him again in Les Mis. The emotion he puts into the performance is amazing. Playing Javert you have the incredible Michael Ball who was the original Marius when it first opened all those years ago. Again he was absolutely incredible and his version of Stars is definitely up there as one of my favorite ever versions. I'm so thrilled I got to see him in the show that launched him to stardom. You then have the incredible Carrie Hope Fletcher who plays Fantine who gives one of the most spine-tingling, beautiful performances of I Dreamed A Dream I think I have ever witnessed in my life. The Thernardier's were played by Matt Lucas & Katy Secombe who you would have come across if you have watched the 25th Anniversary 02 concert of Les Mis as they played the same roles on that night too. They are just incredible. They had the audience in absolute stitches at the 02 and the Gielgud was no different with me practically crying with laughter at some parts during the show. They are both extremely talented and I really can't imagine anyone else ever playing the roles as they just add so much to the characters that I can't explain. Again I'm so happy I got to see them play these roles.

Marius is played by the incredible Rob Houchen who is by far my favorite Marius ever. I have been lucky enough to see his version of Marius a couple of times in the past and I have to say he didn't disappoint. His vocals, the emotion he puts in and the connection he has with each and every person on that stage just blows me away. He's just breathtaking. Enjolras is played by Bradley Jaden who I've seen before as Fiyero in Wicked. Again he is absolutely incredible. The power in his voice and the passion he has for the character on the stage is incredible. Definitely one of my favorite actors to have played the part. Eponine & Cosette are played by two girls that I hadn't really come across until this concert was announced. Shan Ako plays Eponine and is absolutely incredible. What I love about her Eponine as she doesn't play the role like a girl in love even though she is. I found her performance to go a lot deeper than that and see her as more of a powerful girl than just a lovesick one. Her performance reminded me a lot of Carrie's and was fantastic. Lily Kerhoas took over the role of Cosette and she is absolutely breathtaking. Not only is she incredible stunning but her vocals are just incredible and you wouldn't be able to tell that this is her west end debut. She is amazing and the connection she has with Rob on stage is also beautiful to watch.

The ensemble are also obviously absolutely incredible and some have some familiar names you may have heard of before. Adam Bayjou, Simon Bowman, Earl Carpenter, Samantha Dorsey, Tamsin Dowsett, Holly Ann Hull, Joanna Loxton, Rosa O'Reilly and Craig Mather are just some of the names who make up the rest of this incredible cast and who all add so much more to the show in their own individual ways. One of my favorite moments in a Les Miserables show is the first act finale when they all get together on that stage and sing 'One Day More'. Not only do I always cry but I always without a shadow of a doubt get goosebumps. It's one of the most incredible moments of the show as well as 'Do You Hear The People Sing' at the end.

As you can tell I had an absolutely wonderful evening. I laughed, cried, and was just in awe of everyone's talent and how incredible they were. Despite it not being the full theatrical version their passion for the show just doesn't go away. Les Miserables - The Staged Concert is running from now through till the 30th November and I highly recommend picking up a ticket as this is a show you do not want to miss. I'm lucky enough to be seeing it again in a couple of weeks and I absolutely cannot wait. If you do miss out then do not worry! The main theatrical version of the show reopens at the Sondheim Theatre on the 18th December 2019 and you are able to buy tickets for it now from the 18th through to April next year so if you want be there make sure you grab a ticket now as they already starting to sell out fast. If you have already seen this version of the show then be sure to let me know in the comments what you thought. 
Hugs and Kisses
Fleur xo

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