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Jean Valjean, Eponine, Fantine:
Take my hand, and lead me to salvation. Take my love, for love is everlasting. And remember, the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.
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First of all I have to say that I have seen the movie before I dig into Les Mis on the internet, so somehow the movie could catch my attention back then, and I am so grateful for it that I won't compare it with this masterpiece. Secondly, this is my first ever review on IMDb so hurray! :)
What we've got here is a monumental show of pure talent and epicness, which is a must for all 'Les Mis' fans and for everyone who likes to listen to a musical masterpiece, and likes to get goosebumps all the time. The show took place at the O2 arena with hundreds of people participating. The setting is great, the lights and all technical stuff are excellent, the show sounds great, the mixing is very well made. The show has been conducted by the same conductor, who did the 10th anniversary concert back in 1995 (David Charles Abell), and he did one hell of a job, not a single flaw in the play of the orchestra. The cast is a brilliant one - well you could guess that something big is happening when musical giants like Earl Carpenter, or Hadley Fraser only get minor roles... There's a really large choir behind the orchestra, and they really make a punch when it is time for extra amount of epicness (like One Day More). The backing vocalist are also great (in numbers as well), everyone in minor roles (prostitutes, workers, the students) are great, this cast was chosen really carefully, that's for sure. I give a solid 10 for the supporting section of the cast.
Earl Carpenter plays the bishop, and he delivers a fine performance, worthy of his reputation. He's really gentle but powerful at the same time. 10/10
Hadley Fraser plays Grantaire and he makes the new standard for the role with his performance. His baritone is a joy to listen to and they have a unique chemistry with Ramin. 10/10
Katie Hall plays Cosette and she's excellent as well. I think that the role of Cosette has few moments to shine or to stand out, but Katie gives a fine performance, so no worries here. 8,5/10
Lea Salonga is Fantine, and 15 years after she played Eponine during the 10th anniversary show, she delivers this role incredibly well. Her "I Dreamed a Dream" earns her a big applause and some standing ovation as well. Her low harmonics makes her voice quite unique, and that's something I really like. 9/10
Matt Lucas plays Thenardier and he enjoys his role very much. It is fun to see that Matt's dream comes true on-stage, so be ready for a benefit performance. I found him good. 8/10. Madame Thenardier is played by the veteran Jenny Galloway, so no surprises here :) 8/10
Now one controversial choice of singer: the role of Marius is played by Nick Jonas, member of the (in)famous Jonas Brothers. While Nick tries hard, his acting suffers from many wounds, and his voice is at least one or two leagues weaker than the rest of the cast's. He is not good, not for this role at least. The only possible explanation (other than making steps towards his younger fan-base) is that his weaker voice and young looks help creating the impression that his character is innocent and needs guidance from the more mature characters he hangs out with. 4/10
The tragic role of Eponine is played by Sam Barks, and boy, she is awesome. She is a real beauty, that her looks can only be compared her wonderful singing. Her 'On my own' earns her the show's biggest applause till then. 10/10
Enjorlas is played by musical prodigy Ramin Karimloo. He is absolutely incredible and for me, he is the best Enjorlas ever. His commanding performance and seemingly limitless range of voice is a joy to watch and listen to over and over again! 10/10
Norm Lewis is Javert, and the great afro-American singer gives an excellent performance. The role of Javert is possibly the best role in the musical and definitely has the most depth, so it is common that singers make their own interpretation and Norm is no exception. His enunciation is somewhat controversial, but I love his Javert anyway. He is not as good as Quast (and I found EC's Javert better as well), but he gives a commanding presence and a great 'Stars' and soliloquy with full of emotion. 8,5/10
As you can see, the cast is superb, but the real deal is Alfie Boe as JVJ. Now Alfie sets new standards for the singing part of the role, and he is in his own league. He makes you feel that there are absolutely no limits to his wonderful voice as he makes those high Bs and Cs come out so clear and loud like no JVJ did before. His acting is a little stiff here and there, but maybe because his operatic-style of singing and acting, but he compensates it with facial emotions. Stunning. World Class. His 'Bring him home' earned him a standing ovation for minutes. The whole show stopped because of him! 10/10
After the show ends, there are two extra songs involving the original and then-current casts from London. Bring Him Home is presented by the 4 Valjeans and One Day More by the original 1985 cast. Good extras!
One more thing I really like in this concert: you can clearly feel the love between the cast members, and how the story and the incredible talent of Alfie Boe touch them. For me, these scenes are almost as important as good performances.
Well, what can you say? This show made me love Les Mis, and I'm seriously in love with the show itself as well. Brilliant masterpiece which has to be listened to over and over again!
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