Top critical review
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Its Hit and Miss for me
on 1 December 2010
I ve seen many Les Miz s but not this production so my review is based solely on what I m hearing
The Bouquets...I bought it mainly for JOJ and he does not disappoint. John s magnificent voice is filled with power, passion and incredible sensitivity and although I cant see him, he brings JVJ right into my living room. Javert is really good too, and their voices blend beautifully in their duets. I m also impressed with Gareth Gates, whom I saw as a teenager on Idol. He s no Michael Ball, but his voice has a lovely quality at times, and he has a good feel for the character. The new orchestrations sound good, but arent much different from the old ones to my ears.
The Brickbats...At times it rushes along like an express train and there is a lot of yelling. If English isnt your first language, then good luck understanding some of the group singing. Fantine is just awful!! She murders I Dreamed a Dream, belting it out in a harsh and toneless voice. Her dying scene is better and her voice does have some good quality in the softer and more gentle places but there are few of them. She mostly yells her way through her role. What are the latest directors thinking in making Fantine so angry! Its only my opinion as an audience member and longtime L.Miz fan, but I see her as a young woman thoroughly cowed and beaten down by her unfortunate circumstances. Deborah Byrne in the original Sydney production got it right...she looked and sounded fragile and despairing. You could literally feel her pain.
Overall, I still enjoyed it though and in spite of the bits I didnt like, its worth buying for John Owen-Jones alone, but for anyone who doesnt know the show too well, the original London cast recording would be my recommendation.