Utterly gripped by Les Miserables at Theatre Royal, Newcastle

I’m not sure there are enough superlatives to describe the latest production from the Cameron Mackintosh stable to roll into Newcastle.

By Paul Larkin
Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 3:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 11:41 am
A scene from the barricades during Les Miserables at Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Picture by Michael Le Poer Trench
A scene from the barricades during Les Miserables at Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Picture by Michael Le Poer Trench

The standing ovation that greeted the end of the Tuesday’s performance said it all – what a belter!

Les Mis can be appreciated on so many different levels, whether you’re a fan of musical theatre, light opera, great drama or just an evening of pure entertainment – it was utterly gripping.

The staging of this famous show, based on the Victor Hugo novel set in revolutionary 19th century France was absolutely incredible, with scenery, special effects and sound all seemlessly scaled down from the West End to suit smaller provincial theatres.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Drab and dramatic sets, inspired by the paintings of the French author, provided the perfect backdrop for the amazing cast to weave their magic, with superb orchestral accompaniment.

Many of the songs have become households favourites over the years, but what a difference hearing them in the right context rather than on an episode of a TV talent contest.

I am a bit of a Les Mis veteran, but have not seen it since the incredible experience of witnessing Alfie Boe and comedian Matt Lucas in the starring roles of fugitive-turned-mayor Jean Valjean and innkeeper Thénardier respectively. I thought that could not be topped.

But Killian Donnelly and Martin Ball certainly gave them a run for their money, with Donnelly’s rendition of Bring Him Home simply breath-taking and Ball’s antics hilarious.

There were many mesmerising performances, among them Sophie-Louise Dann as the best Madam Thénardier I have ever seen, Nic Greenshields as a convincing, powerful Javert, and Katie Hall as tragic Fantine.

It was an emotional rollercoaster, so take along a box of tissues and prepare for an amazing ride.

Les Misérables plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal until October 5. Book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk