Les Miserables (School Edition)
8th July 2016
Easy Street Theatre Co
The Montgomery Theatre Sheffield
Type of Production
Gavin Usher and Gareth Lloyd
Author: Jo Sykes
As I love Les Miserables I have looked forward to this production for some months and was not disappointed. Artistic Director/Producer, Sallianne Foster-Major, and her production team along with the cast and ensemble delivered a fabulous version of Les Miserables (School Edition).
Thomas Baycroft as Jean Valjean and Alistair Machin as Javert gave very strong performances. From the opening scene to the dramatic climax these two young, talented actors showed a maturity beyond their years. Carys Thomas gave a sensitive portrayal of Fantine which was cleverly juxtaposed to the members of the ensemble who so wickedly victimised her as the factory girls. The hilarious portrayal of Thenardier and Madam Thenardier by Ethan Carey and Emma Neilson was hugely entertaining. They both perfectly captured these characters making them both funny yet menacing and together with the ensemble gave us a roof raising ‘Master of the House’.
Cosette and Marius played by Georgia Crossland and Dylan Lambert presented a truly believable love affair and amidst the angst of the ensuing bloody revolution their characterisation and beautiful songs made the audience believe a happy ending was possible.
Eponine was played with great understanding by Ella Jay Morley. Her passionate delivery of ‘On My Own’ was very moving whilst ‘A Little Fall of Rain’ was beautifully performed with perfect emotion.
Harry Foster-Major as Enjolras, Danny Hawley as the Bishop and Joe McCartney as the Foreman all played their parts impressively. Younger cast members Alfie Wilcox as Gavroche and Emily Axe as young Cosette both gave strong performances and showed much promise for the future.
The excellent cast was well supported by a large ensemble which all maintained their characters and ensured that the clever routines choreographed by Amanda Tyas, complemented the work of the MDs. Gavin Usher and Gareth Lloyd (MDs) had evidently worked hard to ensure that every line sung was well delivered and clear whilst maintaining all the passion that any adult production of this show could.
The costumes were very impressive and appropriate for both the production and the age of the performers. The set was great and the realistic barricade built so quickly by the deft handed stage crew that I nearly missed it. The sound was clear and there were several clever lighting effects which added to this excellent production.
However it wasn’t the fabulous singing, the wonderful costumes, the rousing and atmospheric music from the orchestra or the stunning set which made this production for me. It was the extent to which these talented young people characterised and maintained their roles – whether principal or ensemble. I watched intently but did not see one inappropriate costume tug, a hair flick, loss of attention or sideward glance. Instead they all personified their roles and made me believe we were in 19th century France. The extent to which they all demonstrated a disciplined grasp of stage craft was testament to their hard work and that of the people who coach and guide them so well. The loading of the guns on the barricade and the death of Javert where just two of the many moments which displayed a deep understanding that every second on stage counts.
Congratulations to everyone involved – a really fabulous production.