For something a little different, we have asked our colleagues to review any shows or coach holidays
that they go on and this week our guest blogger, Kayleigh Betts, has reviewed the fabulous West End production of Les Misérables
. Like many of us, she didn’t really know much about the show and to be honest was considering not going but thankfully she did and this is what she thought…
In the past 5 years, I have really enjoyed going on London theatre weekends
with friends and family. Over the Christmas period my mum mentioned how she would love to go see Les Misérables
(affectionately known as Les Mis
by fans of the show), after the initial shock, I asked her if she meant the right show, because like me, she is generally into musical productions that are upbeat and fun and I have heard that Les Mis
does not tick any of these boxes so I was a little bemused at her reply! But she was adamant that it was a show that she had always wanted to go and see. So in the January, I went ahead and bought 3 tickets, one for mum, one for nan and one for myself. When mum first mentioned the show, I wasn't going to go at first and originally thought about just sending her to see it but I then had a rethink and thought the very least I could do is make the effort – after all it was her birthday!
Anyway, to be honest I had no idea what to expect as I had never heard the Les Mis
story as it had not been a show
that I was originally interested in so I didn’t pay much attention when friends chatted about it. All that was to change as approx. 20 minutes prior to leaving the office, a colleague of mine said that I should really read up on it, as she had recently seen it and said it would help me if I knew the gist of what was going on. She kindly printed off a brief overview of the show and I decided that I would take a quick peek on my train journey to London
. So that I didn’t spoil the ending of the show, I chose not to read the last paragraph, but as I sat on the train up to London, all I could think of was how much I wasn't actually looking forward to the show (now that I knew what it was all about)!
I met mum and nan outside the theatre, grabbed a drink and found our seats, which were half decent at least. The opening show number was quite catchy and a bit repetitive to the point where I found myself singing along to it - then all of a sudden to my surprise there was a song that I recognised.... it was the one that made Susan Boyle famous (my nan whispers in my ear, that she thought this actress sang it much better!) so now I'm thinking this might not be as bad as I first thought.
I don’t want to give too much away as I believe that everyone should make the effort to go and see this West End masterpiece but here’s a brief overview…the story is set in France
and takes you on a journey as you follow a man, called Jervert
, who has been imprisoned for stealing a piece of bread to feed his dying nephew, who after trying to escape, ends up serving an 18 year sentence. On his release he is issued with some papers and it doesn’t matter where he goes, because of this paperwork, everyone knows that he is a convict and he is treated as an outcast the moment he arrives in a new town/village. He stupidly steals from a Priest
, who takes pity on him and in turn lies to the police so that he won't return to prison, as a result the young man decides to turn his life around. As you follow Jervert
, you’ll be taken on a beautiful love story that includes some entertaining songs that you may find amusing! Gareth Gates and Samantha Barks blew my socks off with their singing, they made you believe that they felt every emotion they were conveying to us.. and so by the interval I was completely drawn in and my views on the show somewhat changed.
The simple staging gave the actors the spotlight to make the set work for them in telling this touching story. Before I
left the office, my colleague had mentioned how emotional the show was and I thought yeah right only if you’re a big softie - well I must be the BIGGEST of softies out there because for the final 15 minutes of the show… I cried like a baby! Thankfully I was not the only one – as all you could hear from the audience were people sniffling and rustling tissue packets.
By the end of the night, my thoughts of Les Mis
had done a complete 360 degree u-turn, I couldn't get the songs out my head and I left the theatre feeling absolute raw emotion. I can certainly see why Les Mis
is celebrating its 25th year and is consequently the longest running show in the West End. My advice to anyone would be - don't judge a show based on the title, give it a chance and you maybe suitably surprised!!!
Have you been to see Les Misérables? What did you think? We’d love to hear whether you too felt the same as our guest-blogger or is it one of your all-time favourite shows in the West End?