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Les Miserables (school edition)

Date

5th December 2013

Society

Facade Productions @ Victory Academy

Venue

Ormiston Victory Academy, Costessey, Norwich

Type of Production

youth

Director

David Watson and Alice Driver

Musical Director

Helen Curson

Report

Author: Susan DuPont

To celebrate 10 years since  being the second school (as Costessey High School) allowed to perform this show, what a way to raise the bar on the anniversary and to open your new theatre!

What can I say about your new buildings for Academy status, a whole new school since last year and quite magnificent, very modern and different in design, and including a double drama studio with conversion to a 250 seater theatre, most impressive. 

I understand that the sets had to be started off the design drawings but they did indeed fit the stage!  Clever organisation of moving screens to create the acting spaces for the insert sets; the whole piece enhanced by a brilliant atmospheric lighting plot.

The quality of the singing of all principals was outstanding, I see that most have appeared in other productions with various groups this year and so have experience, certainly they needed to give the voice projection and amplification over that large orchestra (including 4 keyboards!).

How marvellous for the directors to have such excellent male voices in years 12 and 13, very strong: Lewes Aves was outstanding as Valjean and showed the acting skills required in this role, the many mood changes given with sympathetic approach; and his opponent Javert played by Iverson Jabut was stern and unyielding and strong (I note that both appeared in the NYMT production of Miss Saigon). I remember Taylor Wooltorton’s smooth voice from last year and his Marius had great quality in tone and performance and good relationship with Cosette.  The exuberance, energy and vocal strength of Elliot Hunter as Enjolras was amazing as he led the band of students at the barricades.  And as a cheeky small Gavroche, Josiah Blake stole the hearts with his acting role and ears with his singing.

The three female leads matched their male counterparts in quality and style, singing and acting abilit.  Such a well acted and moving rendition from Megan Artherton as Fantine; tears were the call for Eponine in her star number, so moving and thoughtful, Erica Yabut gave the performance to watch (these two are also in NYMT); and the sweet quality of young love in golden notes and feeling with Emily Hird as Cosette.  And the contrast of OTT comedy and raucous laughter with strong vocals from Chloe Watret as Mme Thenardier, how she enjoyed this role.

            The Company showed the energy and commitment expected of a youth group given the opportunity to perform Les Miserables; very strong in the ensemble numbers, and moving the audience to standing ovation at each performance.