In the thirty plus years that Les Misérables has been running at the Queen's Theatre, you can tell that not much has changed. While the cast is no longer made up of those who created these now beloved characters, it remains the phenomenal original production that launched a global sensation. And though it will close at the end of the week before reopening later this year with new staging, it still remains a landmark in theater history.
Most theater fans know the story of Les Misérables, and it is one that has certainly earned its remarkable reputation. Originally based on Victor Hugo's novel of the same name, and adapted from a French-language incarnation of the show, Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean (Dean Chisnall) on his journey to better himself despite being forever chased by Inspector Javert (Bradley Jaden). As years go by, he eventually takes in the daughter of former factor worker Fantine (Carley Stenson), promising to care for her as his own.
Time passes, and in 1832 Paris, a group of politically minded students led by Enjolras (Samuel Edwards) and Marius (Toby Miles) take to the streets to try and gain support for revolution. However, Marius finds himself infatuated with Cosette (Charlotte Kennedy), who has had a happy upbringing with Jean Valjean. What Marius doesn't notice is that his childhood friend Eponine (Elena Skye) has feelings for him.
What makes Les Misérables so special cannot be attributed to only one thing. The songs are as remarkable as they are classic; the staging, notably the use of a turntable, is stunning while managing to add to the show's emotional impact; and the cast is top notch. Chisnall evokes all the emotions one would expect from Jean Valjean and more in "Who Am I?" and "Bring Him Home," while Miles and Kennedy truly evoke the feelings that come with falling in love for the first time during "A Heart Full Of Love." Additionally, the remarkable actors that portray the students leave the audience with chills during "Do You Hear The People Sing?" and "One Day More," ensuring that you will forever have these songs in your head and in your heart.
A true landmark of the theater, and a revolution in its own right, Les Misérables cannot be summed up in a mere word. It has forever left its mark on the West End and theater all across the world because even through the sadness of the story, the show contains just enough hope and light to inspire, move the audience, and leave its unique handprint on everyone who has stepped through its doors.