Wonderful - it really is ...,
This review is from: Les Miserables - The 25th Anniversary in Concert at the O2 [DVD] (DVD)
I wanted to give it a five - I really really did ... but I can't and it is SO frustrating. It loses one star because of one thing which just can't be ignored ... and I'll get to that in a few moments ...
First the good stuff:
WOW!!! I've loved Les Miserables ever since I watched it for the first time which was on the 1995 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Production (the one with Michael Ball and Ruthie Henshall.) To say that this show is about depression and misfortune and all the dooms and glooms of living in such a desperate time - it is easilly one of the strongest, most moving and spectacular shows that anyone could ever have the privilage to see. I've seen it live, I've got the original soundtrack, I still love the 10th Anniversary one and I admit, I was dubious about this production - but I was very pleasantly surprised. Ecstatically surprised in fact.
There is a lot more in this than the 95 production and it's more of a performance than just a concert. You've still got your singers standing at static microphones, but there just seems to be a lot more activity and the performers are really acting rather than just singing - which is brilliant. Lea Salonga had me in tears - she's known for having the most beautiful voice anyway, but the passion and the angst she puts into her performance of Fantine is just wonderful and Samantha Barks is simply brilliant as Eponine, which was another surprise.
There seems to be a lot of colour and light going on around the scenery and the background which is very eyecatching. The set itself is full and even the costumes seem very bright, even though they have that realistic worn and tired look. Everything looks as though the creators have decided to simply go for it and pull all of the stops out. And so they should - Les Mis is arguably the BEST thing to come out of Musical Theatre and this production is definitely an eye-opener. The passion and strength that is shown in this one production could possibly move anyone to tears at some point.
The only thing was - and I hate myself for giving it one star and I'm so annoyed ... it was Nick Jonas as Marius. And I'm so sorry - I'm a big believer in say something nice or say nothing, but he really is not right for that part. I mean good on him for trying and I do admire him for doing it. I won't say that I could do any better because I can't ... but there are so many other people out there who could. Ramin Karimloo who played Enjolras (and very wonderfully too) could have easilly played Marius - and there were other chorus members who had strong, expressionate voices that could have taken the part. And because Marius is such an important character who can't be ignored or overlooked - I have to take away a star. His voice just had no strength or variation to it - even in Empty Chairs, which is supposed to be his song of agony - there was just nothing, making it seem like the gathered heroes behind him simply walked off in disgust. He didn't seem to connect to the other performers at all and, quite frankly, the chorus members outshone him. Which is such a shame because everyone else and the entire production as a whole is sterling. If I could give 99 out of 100 stars, I would - but it only goes up to 5 and I always have to take that one star away because of Nick Jonas and I really am sorry. Good on him for trying though.
Apart from that, everything is perfect - yes it's a new production and things have changed, but changed for the better and I honestly loved it except for that one thing. Oh and I think Matt Lucas deserves a whole star just for himself.