Les Miserables

Date 7th February 2024
Society Crash Bang Wallop Youth Theatre
Venue The Forum, Northallerton
Type of Production Musical
Director Dan Brookes
Musical Director Alice Carr-Smith
Choreographer Emma Greenhalgh
Assistant Director Joseph Arnott
Conductor Alan Owens

Report

Author: Dan Matuszak

“Do you hear the people sing?”…..we most certainly did!  Wow….what a show by Crash Bang Wallop Youth Theatre Company.

‘Les Misérables’ has, for a very long time, been one of my all time favourites. I have to admit, when I first heard of a schools edition, I was very sceptical thinking that this was not a show for youth to do however, the three companies I have seen do it have not failed with the enormous task of the show. This one was no exception.

The Set was effective and well designed. All parts moved seamlessly when needed to create new scenes. The stage extension to stage right worked well for different scene and I loved the old faithful trap door for the Thernadiers to appear from. Lighting was great – very atmospheric and effective. Particularly liked the iconic red, white and blue flag effect and the blinding baton lighting at the end of Javert’s suicide. Simple yet an effective way of getting the character off stage unseen.

Sound was of good quality and the orchestra was always sympathetic to solo singing and diction was good. The Orchestra was under the direction of Alan Owens who as normal, did a great job with them. Costumes were expertly done. Not one looked out of place on the stage which was great to see. Nice to know that every attention to detail was considered. Choreography was well planned and executed superbly on stage. Overall, I think Director Dan Brooke's vision was created really well on stage.

With a large cast, the ensemble was perfectly engaged in the plot, which is very important in this show. Each of them had their own characterisation which was great to see and you could clearly see they were putting their all into the production.

Toby Davidson took on the huge role of Jean Valjean, successfully transforming from rough ex-con to respectable gentleman. His vocals were on point and his affection with the other characters came across well. Ethan McGee was strong and authorative as Javert and Fantine was sensitively played and well sang by Georgie Rose. Marius was played really well and with conviction by George Manley and Robyn (Esther) Lane as Eponine brought the magical song ‘On My Own’ to new heights.

Cerys Hughes played young Cosette in engaging fashion and sang “Castle on a Cloud” very sweetly. Thenardier and Madame Thenardier – the only pair in this show who offer the audience a chance to laugh – were played by Sam Thorpe and Holly Hilton. “Master of the House” was a lively and bawdy scene in which both performers showed good comedic promise. 

Enjolras (Joe Morton) and all the young students were enthusiastic and sang very well in “Red & Black” and the lead into “Do You Hear the People Sing” which is always emotive.

Lastly, I must make a special mention to possibly the youngest member of the cast (I may be wrong though), Erin Goh. Honestly, one of the best portrayals of Gavroche I have ever seen. So cheeky, so quick witted and had the audience in loveable laughter. Well done Erin!

As is the norm with a company as big as this, it is impossible to mention everyone but honestly, you should ALL be very proud of yourselves and what you achieved with this show and as you saw from the stage, the audience rightly gave you a standing ovation at the end, to which I add my appreciation.

Well done to you all!