It’s fair to say I am a huge fan of Les Miserables. I’ve seen it at least five times on the stage, I’ve watched the musical film version the same amount and I’ve seen countless other adaptions. More recently I spent an afternoon watching the Staged Concert featuring an all-star cast including Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Lucas and John Owen Jones. Quite simply I love Les Mis so even before I went I could almost guarantee that this review would give it five stars, and perhaps unsurprisingly it does.
An invitation to the press night of the Les Miserables UK tour at the Liverpool Empire brought whoops of delight. It was a Friday night too, the first one after Christmas. What a treat on what’s usually a dismal week. Clearly Liverpool theatre fans had the same idea too, as the theatre was packed to the rafters. The sense of anticipation in the Theatre as we waited for the famous opening bars of Look Down was palpable.
Les Mis has been touring and performing to packed theatres since 1985. There was new fans in the audience, and clearly fans, who like me and my guest, had seen it numerous times before.
As the opening bars of Look Down began I shivered and I was swept up in the magic of Les Mis until it finished nearly 3 hours later.
The cast of this UK tour are superb. It’s hard to say what the stand out moments were; apart from all of them, but Katie Hall, who sings the iconic I Dreamed A Dream was superb and left me spellbound. Javert’s final moments (played by Nic Greenshields) was simply brilliant. The use of music and lighting to give you a real sense of the jump was exceptional and I’d never seen it done like that before, in the same vein the use of clever lights and music added something. to the tunnel scenes I’d never experienced before too.
But for me, Les Mis peaks when the full ensemble is together and they are belting out songs such as At The End Of The Day, One Day More, and Do You Hear The People Sing? I wanted to stand up and sing them with them, but had to settle for light humming and tapping of my feet.
As the last song finished, the whole audience was on their feet. The ovation lasted for a well deserved long time, before the cast disappeared from the stage beaming at the rapturous applause.
Should you go? Absolutely yes!
Run Time: 2hours 50 minutes (including interval)
Rating: 5 stars
Les Miserables runs at the Liverpool Empire until January 22. You can book here .