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Les Miserables Schools Edition

Date

22nd November 2017

Society

Brentwood Operatic Society Youth Theatrical Group

Venue

The Brentwood Theatre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Gaynor Wilson, assisted by James Wilson

Musical Director

Cathy Edkins

Choreographer

Jake Hunter

Report

Author: Tessa Davies

I have to confess that this show is not one of my favourites but I do appreciate the level of difficulty in the music, particularly and it takes a very talented cast to get it right.  It is lovely to note that BOSSY is just that.

Because the Principal roles in BOSSY’s productions are often shared I, usually, try to get to see two performances.  However, due to a very busy week, I watched the dress rehearsal and one performance this time.   I was impressed by most of the performances in both the dress rehearsal and the performance.  I was also impressed with the development of the production between the dress rehearsal and the performance!  My comments about the production are all based on the performance.

There is no doubt that the cast understood and appreciated the emotion that the show needs.  Sam Harper, playing Jean Valjean, was impressive with a range of emotions displayed throughout the show.  He just needs to understand the importance of projection when speaking the more emotive lines as he tended to drop his voice and, consequently, we lost some of the dialogue.

Joe Folley was also impressive in the role of Javert.  He had obviously studied the character and produced a performance to be proud of.  Jodie Tarrant and Ellie Lovelace shared the role of Fantine.   The character is only onstage for a relatively short time so it is important that the performer makes her mark and they both brought the character to life. Katherine Dodds and Caitlin Matthews shared the role of the adult Cossette, again two quite different but equally enchanting performances.

Michael Percival and Adam Ellis shared the role of Thenadier.  Adam struggled a bit with his song in the dress rehearsal but, I understand, he got the hang of it for the performances!  Michael was particularly good in the role with some excellent expressions and great characterisation.  Rosie Griffiths and Aoife Doherty shared the role of Mme Thenadier.  Two very different performances but both equally enjoyable.  These two characters are the comedy in, what is otherwise, a very severe show so their role is particularly important in raising the humour level.

Tia Stiack played Eponine, a truly excellent performance and her vocal delivery was outstanding.  Definitely one to watch in the future.  Dan Pugh played Marius and, once again, demonstrated his ability to get right into the character.  James Wilson played Enjolras, a character that is often overlooked but who is a key part of the story.  James has a strong stage presence and his performance was very good.   Last of the Principals but by no means least, is Sam Johnson playing Gavroche.  Sam has an excellent stage presence and always brings a lot of character to his performances.   Billie Wilson played Young Cossette and Mia Harper played Young Cossette and Young Eponine; both girls sang Castle in the Cloud well.  Natalya Wallace shared the role of Young Eponine.

It was good to see the large ensemble for the show, especially as BOSSY lost quite a lot of members who went off to University and College after last year’s show. The ensemble produced great characters, especially the boys playing the students.  Overall the singing was very good, Cathy Edkins has obviously worked very hard to get the company to such a high level.

The costumes were beautiful, and the simple set worked very well.  Sound was good, and it was nice to hear ALL the dialogue.  Lighting was good, one or two of the Principals need to understand the importance of getting their face in a pool of light, occasionally we lost their facial expressions because they were just outside the lit area.

Overall an outstanding production which the cast had worked hard to produce, and which was fully appreciated by the packed audience.  Well done BOSSY.