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Les MisÚrables at Capitol Theatre

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by Adrian Kmita (subscribe)
Writer and Osteopath. A Sydneysider traveling the world solving life's puzzles. instagram.com/AdrianKmita
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Finally a Broadway quality show arrives in Sydney
Les Miserables opens in Sydney at the Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables opens in Sydney at the Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)

It is truly a rare occasion when a musical of such high calibre can have productions preformed on the stages of Broadway, London's West End and Sydney simultaneously. Perhaps this is a testament to the epic novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862 and to which the musical is based on. Or maybe such a resurgence can only be equated to an Academy Award winning movie, both critically acclaimed and viable at the box office, starring the likes of Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe no less. Then again, we are talking about the legendary production of Les MisÚrables. The show has been seen across the world by over 65 million people in 42 countries, and the renowned musical is still breaking theatre box office records.

Les Miserables' Cosette and Jean Valjean played by Emily Langridge and Simon Gleeson (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Cosette and Jean Valjean played by Emily Langridge and Simon Gleeson (photo by Adrian Kmita)

Sydney musical theatre has lacked a sense of credibility in recent years, with promoters preferring to regurgitate and rotate a collection of what can only be described as lacklustre franchises. All of which have failed to hit the mark, and worse still, provided Sydney theatre patrons with limited quality options to choose from. Well that trend has certainly changed with the most recent re-imagining of the classic Les MisÚrables. It begs the question, why has it taken so long for Sydney to receive a Broadway quality show? And coming from a veteran consumer of Broadway theatre, this is no understatement. The Sydney Les Mis production is simply stellar. Reports of standing ovations during theatre previews have not gone unnoticed either.

Les Miserables at Sydney's Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables at Sydney's Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)

Cameron Mackintosh and crew have pulled out all the stops for the Sydney reincarnation of Les Mis. The Sydney edition can only be described as blissfully brilliant, with a sense of heart and tenderness that was lacking in the movie adaptation of the same name. Quality of this kind can only be manifest with an acute eye for detail and a marvellous cast, not to mention inspired adaptation. The brand new production has taken the inspiration of Victor Hugo's novel and artwork to a whole new level. The staging is elaborate and the production design sublime.

Les Miserables at the Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables at the Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)

Cameron Macintosh celebrates his 50th anniversary in show business this year. He has produced more musical theatre than anyone in history, most notably the three longest running musicals of all time, Les MisÚrables, The Phantom of the Opera and Cats. Credit must also go to directors Laurence Connor, James Powell and their fabulous production team, who have incorporated the musical composition of Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics of Alain Boublil brilliantly. These key components have provided the ideal foundation for compelling storytelling.

Les Miserables' Jean Valjean played by Simon Gleeson (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Jean Valjean played by Simon Gleeson (photo by Adrian Kmita)

The story explores themes of broken dreams, unrequited love, passion, sacrifice, moral philosophy and anti-monarchism, as key cast members negotiate their way through the turbulent waters they have unintentionally created for themselves. All this is in the midst of the French revolution, specifically the June Rebellion of 1832, as a nation takes action to fulfil their immense desire for liberation. The music and orchestration are the real stars of the production, bringing to light the most important theme of all, emphasising the survival and triumph of the human spirit.

Les Miserables' Jean Valjean played by Simon Gleeson (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Jean Valjean played by Simon Gleeson (photo by Adrian Kmita)

As an audience we follow the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean, played by Simon Gleeson, on his quest for redemption and freedom following events leading him to break his parole. Hot on the heels of Valjean is a formidable nemesis in the form of Javert played by Hayden Tee. Javert's decades long quest to capture Valjean is relentless and the musical dance between the two is divine.

Les Miserables' Javert played by Hayden Tee (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Javert played by Hayden Tee (photo by Adrian Kmita)

Simon Gleeson's performance is easily the centrepiece of the show, as emotive elements of light and shade resonate from every well crafted lyric. These subtle nuances are both impeccable and remarkable, while Hayden Tee's contribution more than exceeds the role of an intimidating and worthy adversary.

Cameron Mackintosh alongside Les Miserables' Fantine played by Patrice Tipoki (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Cameron Mackintosh alongside Les Miserables' Fantine played by Patrice Tipoki (photo by Adrian Kmita)

The famous role of Fantine is played by Patrice Tipoki. She will be familiar to some Australian theatre attendees from her roles in The Lion King and most recently Wicked. In Les MisÚrables her melodious contribution is a most memorable one, and as expected, the focal point of her performance is undoubtedly her immensely emotional rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream".

Les Miserables' Cosette played by Emily Langridge (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Cosette played by Emily Langridge (photo by Adrian Kmita)

The demise of Fantine also plays a pivotal role in the introduction of her daughter Cosette, played by Emily Langridge, and of course Eponine, played by Kerrie Anne Greenland. Both performances conjure elements of grace and charm, while Kerrie Anne Greenland's rendition of "On My Own" shines with expressive angst and passion.

Les Miserables' Eponine played by Kerrie Anne Greenland (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Eponine played by Kerrie Anne Greenland (photo by Adrian Kmita)


Les Miserables' Enjolras played by Chris Durling (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Enjolras played by Chris Durling (photo by Adrian Kmita)

The introduction of Enjolras, played by Chris Durling, provides a key highlight for audiences to look forward to. As the youthful leader of the revolution, he exudes a stage presence and charisma unlike any other. Every appearance of Enjolras on stage commands the audiences attention, emanating an enthusiasm that is addictive to watch. The love-drunk revolutionary Marius, played by Euan Doidge, is also a comparable counterpart.

Les Miserables' Marius played by Euan Doidge (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables' Marius played by Euan Doidge (photo by Adrian Kmita)

Les MisÚrables' stellar soundtrack includes the songs "I Dreamed A Dream", "Bring Him Home", "One Day More", "On My Own", "Stars", "Do You Hear the People Sing?", and the favourite "Red and Black", just to name a few.

Les Miserables at the Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)
Les Miserables at the Capitol Theatre (photo by Adrian Kmita)

In summary, the brand new production of Les MisÚrables is an absolute must see for everyone. The Sydney edition is Broadway inspired, taking advantage of every aspect of the Capitol Theatre. This is the kind of musical theatre Sydney has been waiting to experience, and has been long overdue. So if you have been dreaming a dream of heading to Broadway, then look no further, because finally a taste of Broadway has come to Sydney.

For further information and tickets, visit the Les MisÚrables website at LesMis.com.au.
Ticket prices start at $55.

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*Adrian Kmita was invited as a guest
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Why? A Broadway quality musical finally arrives in Sydney, with the spectacular state of the art production of Les MisÚrables
When: Les MisÚrables opens in Sydney on 26th March
Website: lesmis.com.au
Where: The Capitol Theatre in Haymarket, Sydney
Cost: Tickets are available from $55
Your Comment
I went to see this last week. It was magnificent!
by Vee (score: 1|62) 1616 days ago
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