Friday, January 18, 2013

Les Miserables 2013: Live on Stage

Are you tired rundown and listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? of creams and soaps and all sorts of concoctions that just don't seem to work?  Do you find yourself giving up in despair each night and going to bed with mascara caked between your lashes?  Have you turned your back on commercial products and resorted to using a washcloth and water to get your lipstick off?  Well, sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more! Because I'm here today to tell you about the world's best makeup remover...

Les Miserables, The 25th Anniversary Production!

Simply attend one show (evening or matinee) of this fabulous musical while wearing your favorite makeup and emerge from the theater fresh-faced and shining, washed clean of foreign substances by your own lachrymal glands.  Instant results!  Satisfaction guaranteed! *Tissues not included.

photo by me
In all seriousness, I bawled like a baby throughout pretty much the whole show.  Why is there no surprised feeling.  I barely have words to describe how amazing this play was.  I still can't get my mind around the fact that I've seen it.  Live.  The whole story played out before me on stage in the grand and glorious Academy of Music, with a full orchestra and a fabulously talented cast (except for Fantine, who was underwhelming, but I'll get to that) and an overwhelming, sweeping epicness that no other musical can ever attain.  I know "epicness" is a cop-out word.  But when it comes to Les Mis, I cop out. I can't find the right words to describe how supremely incredible it is.  

But I'm going to try.  {Note: this thing is RIDICULOUSLY long.  Proceed at your own risk.}

A few days before we went to see Les Mis, I provided my mom with a four-page recap of the entire plot, complete with Helpful Hints as to who was who (Valjean will be in green and then black, Eponine has a flat cap and trench coat, Enjolras is the guy in the Red Vest of Power and Awesomeness).  If you don't know the story of Les Mis, contact me and I'd be happy to provide you with a copy.  But if you don't want to bother with such a long read, here's Les Mis in a nutshell:

A guy steals a loaf of bread.  Another guy with a nightstick chases him.  Still another guy wears a Red Vest of Power and Awesomeness.  People shoot guns.  Everyone dies.  The End.

Now that you are all thoroughly acquainted with the plot, let us begin.  With the characters, of course.

Peter Lockyer as Jean Valjean

Hmmm... what can I say that doesn't begin and end with WOW.  Looking at the picture in the playbill, I didn't think he looked old enough to play a convincing Valjean, but boy was I wrong.  He was convincing in everything-- and had an incredible voice to boot! Except for Bring Him Home... I hate to say it, but I was a wee bit disappointed.  Of course no one can sing that song like Valjean himself--erm, I mean Colm Wilkinson-- but Peter Lockyer's high notes left much to be desired and he just sounded kind of... quivery.  But all in all he did an excellent job throughout the whole thing.  He played Marius on Broadway in 1997 (see here) and that pleases me muchly, because I am a firm believer in Actors Who Have Played One Role in a Musical and Go On to Play Another In Later Life.  Cough, cough, MichaelBallshouldhavebeenValjeaninthemovie, cough, cough.

Andrew Varela as Javert

My reaction to Varela's Javert in the Prologue- "Hmmm, good voice.  Not Philip Quast, but still good.  Oooh, that 'no' was superb! This guy's pretty good."
My reaction to Stars - "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ASDKJASDJFOIWEUUWOERIUHJ!"

Impressed doesn't even BEGIN to cover it.  (I have a vague memory of punching Anne-girl repeatedly on the arm and staring at her (and Javert) with my mouth hanging open.  Thank goodness we were up in the dark amphitheatre where no one could see... I do believe I looked like more of an idiot than usual.)   The amount of power and control in his voice was... well, flabbergasting.  He came THIS CLOSE to becoming my favorite Javert... and that's saying a lot.  I mean, on a scale of Russell Crowe to Philip Quast (with Quast being 100) I'd say Andrew Varela gets a 99.8.  You could feel his voice making the seats tremble way up where we were sitting.  I could have sworn the chandelier shook when he did that last note in Stars.  And the Suicide?  I have no words.  No. Words.  (But I'll get to that.)

Genevieve Leclerc as Fantine

I couldn't find a picture of Fantine from this production, so just take my word for it that she's blonde and wears a blue dress.  I was, well, disappointed in Leclerc's Fantine.  She sang everything in what wasn't really a monotone but was... dangerously close to it.  I didn't have any complaints about her actual voice, but there was no passion in what she sang.  I Dreamed a Dream is one of the most stunning pieces of music in the entire play, and she sang it without a whole lot of... well, ooomph.  At the end she did put some anger and bitterness into it, but personally I prefer Lea Salonga and Anne Hathaway's versions-- they're far more heartbreaking.  Come to Me/Fantine's Death wasn't awful, but neither was it impressive. Valjean played up the tragic element very well, I thought (I never truly realized before how much guilt he must have been feeling when Fantine died) but Fantine herself just kind of... plopped.  Meh.

Devin Ilaw as Marius

Devin Ilaw only recently replaced Max Quinlan in the touring cast, and as yet there seem to be no pictures of him in costume on Google Images.  Sigh.  Just picture a dark-haired guy in a black suit with reasonably good-looking hair.  Fabulous hair is a prerequisite for all Marii [plural of Marius, you know].  No matter how rotten their singing may be, they must have good hair.  Thankfully Ilaw's Marius didn't need fabulous hair to make up for his singing-- because the singing was fantastic.  Still not Michael Ball, of course, but then who is?  He sang much more softly than what I'm accustomed to, but it was a good kind of soft-- you got the sense that he had perfect control over his voice, especially in A Heart Full of Love (which was SO. CUTE.).  Then along came Empty Chairs at Empty Tables and WHAM, it was like, "Here is Marius' stellar tenor which has been kept under wraps for most of the play just so we can WOW you in this final song."  He put so much emotion into that song... it was wonderful.  (I'm absolutely swimming in superlatives today.  Deal with it.)

Briana Carlson-Goodman as Eponine

I have mixed emotions about this Eponine.  After seeing Lea Salonga and Samantha Barks in the role (both of whom are beyond fabulous) I have really, really high expectations for any and every Eponine.  (Not that I've seen very many other Eponines outside of YouTube... "but Margaret, that is NOT the POINT.")  She seemed a bit whiny at the beginning, which is not something I appreciate in Eponine (cough, FrancesRuffelleandKahoShimada, cough) but her acting skills in In My Life and Attack on the Rue Plumet made up for that.  During the Attack, she didn't just stand there and whimper-- she was doing her best to bar the door and you could clearly see the turmoil in her mind at that point.  The Scream, I'm afraid, left much to be desired, but Lea Salonga pretty much owns The Scream so that's understandable.  On My Own left me feeling a bit let down (again, too whiny and just not... memorable enough) but A Little Fall of Rain was heart-rending.  I'm going to address my favorite songs after this, so more on that later.

Jason Forbach as Enjolras

I expect a lot of any guy who plays Enjolras--and with Jason Forbach I was about as far from disappointed as anyone could be.  I mean, living up to the precedent Ramin Karimloo has set is a huge responsibility, but even though Forbach didn't quite own the RVofP&A the way Karimloo does, his voice made up for it.  If we take "made up for it" to mean "I desperately wanted Red and Black to come with instant replay so I could listen to it over and over and over and over again."  I've heard wimpy Enjolrases on YouTube, and I was the tiniest bit afraid that this one might be like them.  But wherefore didst I doubt? As soon as he came on stage, all my misgivings took wing and flew away.  The "barricades of freedooooooom" in One Day More (an exceedingly important and sadly underrated line) was as close to perfection as anything can be that isn't from the mouth of The Best Enjo That Ever Was, and the barricade scenes... well, let's just say my sister and I did our part in manning the waterworks.

I'm also of the opinion that Jason Forbach looks (and rather sounds) like a younger version of James Barbour... is anyone in agreement?

Lauren Wiley as Cosette
*blows nose* "Adorable!"

Eh... she was all right.  Nothing stupendous.  I'm really looking forward to Amanda Seyfried's portrayal of the character in the movie, because from what I've seen she seems the most like Cosette of the book, but Cosette has never been my favorite character.  Lauren Wiley's voice struck me as being too screechy in some parts and too weak in others.  She's gorgeous as far as appearance goes, don't get me wrong, but what this fandom really needs is a Cosette who can look like Amanda Seyfriend and sound like Judy Kuhn.  (And not the other way 'round.)

Hayden Wall as Gavroche 

I am a fan of pretty much every Gavroche that has ever been.  He was my favorite character when I read the book, and I still kind of consider him "mine."  And all that aside, nine-year-old Hayden Wall was fantastic.  (He alternates with Joshua Colley in the part, so if you saw the same cast as I did you might not have seen the same Gavroche.)  The first thing that struck me when he swaggered onstage in Look Down was that he sounded so different from all the other Gavroches I'd heard... what was it, what was it?  Then it hit me that almost all the Les Mis recordings I've heard have featured a British Gavroche, and what I was missing was the Cockney accent. :P  So it was "nothing pahsh" instead of "nuffing pawsh" in Look Down, and what little there was of Little People (ERRMMMMM) sounded distinctly different from what I'm used to, but all in all he left nothing to be desired.  It was refreshing to see a truly little Gavroche-- just reminds you of how he really was way too young to be living out on his own and getting involved in revolutions.  Robert Madge was fabulous in the 25th concert, but he was just too old.

Timothy Gulan and Shawna M. Hamic as the Thenardiers

I didn't watch a whole lot of the scenes the Thenardiers were in, preferring instead to study the intricate patterns in the woodwork, but there were a few funny bits-- particularly the Waltz of Treachery ("let's not haggle for darling Colette--Cosette...") and the Robbery ("in the absence of a victim, dear Inspector... mayIgo?").  Timothy Gulan's singing struck me as the best I've ever heard as far as Thenardier is concerned.  Not in Master of the House per se (ewwwww) but in Dog Eats Dog (which is also ewwww when you think about it, but not in the same way as MOTH).  I honestly think he should try out for Valjean-- he had a lot of power in his voice.  Shawna Hamic as Madame was... well, frankly, the Madames are all alike in my book: carbon copies of Jenny Galloway.  The End.

Other characters... the Bishop had a great voice, Grantaire was not Hadley Fraser but still excellent (HILARIOUS at times and rip-your-heart-out at others), Little Cosette was adorable, Thenardier's gang of robbers were appropriately slimy and the students at the barricade were really hard to tell apart. I could recite all the students' names (and character descriptions) in my sleep (thanks to Victor Hugo's long-drawn-out biography of each and every one of them in The Brick) but they all moved around so fast and were dressed so alike in the play that I couldn't have distinguished Courfeyrac (my favorite) from Jean Prouvaire.

As far as the songs, I was mesmerized the whole time.  Look Down began with a projected image of crashing waves on the backscreen (isn't that what it's called? can someone more knowledgeable help me out,  please?) and the convicts were shown actually rowing in the galleys instead of merely digging ditches.  It got the whole thing off to a smashing start-- you could sense the despair and cold seawater as if you were there.

Who Am I? was very, very pleasing to me.  I used to get confused while watching the concert because I didn't understand why Valjean was singing all by himself and then suddenly addressing his remarks to Javert. In the play, the backdrop opens behind Valjean to reveal the courtroom at Champmathieu's trial, where Valjean shows the brand to the judge and declares himself to be 24601-- and then the whole place erupts in chaos and he gets out in the pandemonium.  You don't get to see that in the concerts (and please bear in mind that I adore both concert versions and don't mean to degrade them in any way-- but the fact remains that they are concerts and this is the Real Thing).

Then there was the Confrontation... and oh. my. word.  SO incredible.  The two men singing in counterpoint with their voices getting louder and softer (you could actually understand everything! Yay!), the menacing circling around the stage, Peter Lockyer's screaming of "my race is not yet run!", the actual FIGHT at the end.  Again, something you don't see in the concerts.  My mom pointed out later that the part where Valjean throws Javert to the floor is a bit amusing because Javert is, like, twice the size of Valjean... but hey, suspended disbelief and all that.  :D

Red and Black just bowled me over.  I loved the fact that they had a little nod to the book in the "Cafe Musain" sign, how the students were shown actually sitting at the chairs and tables... you do realize that in the concerts when Marius sings of empty chairs and empty tables, there actually never WERE any tables or chairs onstage.  Heehee.  Oh, and when Grantaire was singing about having never heard Marius ooh and ahh, he hopped into Marius' lap and put his arms around his neck-- it was HILARIOUS.  And the amount of charisma Enjo had in that song was amazing.  You could definitely understand why all the others followed him implicitly-- I mean, I was this close to hopping out of my seat and down onto the stage so I could wave a flag and sing Do You Hear the People Sing?, too!

In My Life and A Heart Full of Love were cuteness personified.  When Marius sang "And I soar through a world that is new, that is free!" he scooped up Eponine and swung her around and I was caught between the conflicting emotions of Oh, That Is Just Too Sweet and Marius, I Want To Punch You In The Face.  Then A Heart Full of Love came along and they absolutely nailed the timid aspect of the song.  The one teeny, weeny, baby problem I have with Michael Ball and Judy Kuhn's version is that they both sound so sure of themselves (for the most part, anyway).  Not so with Devin Ilaw and Lauren Wiley-- at one point she actually retreated back into the house and slammed the door.  And when they kissed at the end it was just cute (I know, I keep using that word...)-- there was no Compulsion to Cover My Revolted Eyes on my part like there is in a certain concert I could name (a certain concert which isn't the TAC).

One Day More-- I have yet to see a version of this song that isn't sweepingly mind-blowing.  Though I have to say I didn't pay much attention to the majority of the cast.  I was perched on the edge of my seat straining my eyes for the first glimpse of a certain person who bursts onstage waving a musket over his head-- and when he appeared, I didn't take my eyes off him until the end.  But I'm sure the other characters were excellent too.  Heehee.

A Little Fall of Rain just about broke my heart.  It's always a sad song, of course.  I was expecting THAT.  But of course I knew it couldn't come close to the TAC version, and after what I'd seen of Briana Carlson-Goodman I was afraid she might belt the song and ruin it.  Well, as it turns out... "I would much rather be [sobbing] than right."  That number may have been the best in the show.  There was no measly hand-holding nor were there strained looks of indigestion.  No one was standing before a microphone (sorry, TAC).  They were down on the floor surrounded by the insurgents (who one by one realized what was happening and before long they were all frozen in place), and Eponine actually looked (and sounded) like she was dying.  And when she finally did die, it was like Marius couldn't believe it.  Some of the students came and carried Eponine's body away and Marius was left alone to... well, basically curl up in the corner and bawl.  I did the same thing, minus the corner.

The barricades... oh, the barricades.  The new staging for the 25th Anniversary tour doesn't include revolving barricades as the original staging did, but it didn't matter that we could only see one side.  When we first walked into the theater, there was a little sign posted on the door that said, "Warning: this show will feature live gunshots" and you better believe it did.  I feel like a horrible person for saying this, but those scenes were so cool.  Smoky haze filled the air, lights were flashing all over the place... it was incredible.  We finally got to see Valjean save Enjolras from the sniper (that doesn't appear in the concerts) and we saw Marius get hit right there at the beginning and Valjean running to get him out of the way.  And we did not see Gavroche die.

At first I was perturbed that The Second Attack/Death of Gavroche wasn't actually shown, but after some thought I realized that I probably wouldn't have been able to handle it anyway.  As it was, we saw Gavroche climb the barricade and saw Grantaire lunging after him (the Grantaire/Gavroche relationship was almost like a father/son one-- SO adorable).  We heard him land on the other side and begin his cocky little reprise of Little People, and saw the students all standing like statues, because they all knew what was going to happen.  He got halfway through the song and then the gun went off--he kept singing--the gun fired again-- and the song was cut abruptly as Grantaire threw himself down on his knees and screamed, pounding the floor with his fist...

...yeah, that was when I totally and completely lost it.

After that I don't think I fully stopped crying until the play was over.  The students were cut down one by one-- and we didn't see Enjo's legendary slow-motion-backwards-fall.  Instead, he went plunging over the front of the barricade and I nearly stood up in my seat.  NO, NO, THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING.  And when the chaos had ended, the barricades parted and slid back into the wings and Javert came out with his torch to search for Valjean among the bodies.  And, well, as Petie said... "I would like to personally thank the directors of this production for throwing in that little bit where it shows the dead bodies of Gavroche and Enjolras just flung into a cart and rolled away. Thank you for that. Truly. It just made my [afternoon]."  For me, that was probably more heartbreaking than seeing Enjolras' body draped over the barricade with blood all over his face--seeing him and Gavroche carted off to be dumped in some mass grave just struck me all over again with the tragedy of the whole thing.  [insert tears here]

Turning and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables were just beautiful.  Heart-wrenchingly beautiful.  The women of Turning lit candles and left them on the stage for Empty Chairs, and when Marius came on and lifted up his voice (at which time my jaw dropped) he also lifted up a candle, and that little touch set me off again.  Not half as badly as when the ghosts of the students surrounded him, though.  Grantaire with his hands on Gavroche's shoulders and Enjolras' face completely in shadow... yep, tear my heart out and stomp on it, why dontcha.

The Epilogue was all that could be desired.  I appreciated the fact that we were able to see the exact moment when Valjean died-- in the concerts, that's a little vague.  But in the play it's quite obvious that it happens when he stands up from his chair--leaving Marius and Cosette huddled together in tears--to join Fantine and Eponine and remind us of a truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.  It was perfect.

And since this post is clearly not long enough already, some random little things that stood out to me...

~The way the whole thing began sent icy chills down my spine.  They didn't bother with lowering the lights, oh no.  At the dot of two o'clock the orchestra burst into the opening notes of the prologue, and the people who were still finding seats completely froze... I just hope no one had a heart attack.  :P  Then, and only then, did the lights go down and the show began.

~The acoustics in the Academy of Music are beyond fabulous.  Marius' microphone went out briefly during the Epilogue, but even from where we were sitting we could still hear his "It's you who must forgive a thoughtless fool" line.

~In the playbill, there are four or five pages devoted to short bios of all the cast and crew members, as well as the production bigwigs.  I was much amused to see this on page 20: "CAMERON MACKINTOSH (Producer) produces musicals."  And that was it.  Now, if this had been POTO, we would have had a four-page spread on The Life and Career of Andrew Lloyd Webber.  I'm just sayin'.

~Several of the songs aren't given their proper names in my playbill.  Look Down is called "Paris," Do You Hear the People Sing? is termed "The People's Song," (?) and Javert's Suicide is called only "Soliloquy"-- I suppose because they didn't want to spoil that part for people who didn't know the story (though the whole thing is recapped in the synopsis a page later...).  Oh, and Confrontation isn't there at all--the list skips right from Fantine's Death to Castle on a Cloud. *assumes Marguerite voice* "How bizarre."

~As we left the theater, the notes of Castle on a Cloud were hovering in the air, bewildering me for a moment--wasn't the show over?  However, the music came not from the now-empty theater but from a street musician, playing his clarinet on the corner.  So I did something I'd never done before--I put money in the man's tip box.   It was one of those things you just have to do. 

Back to the actual show...

I was standing up to applaud before the chorus was finished with their bows.  I whooped and hollered for Gavroche, screamed when Enjolras appeared, screamed louder when Javert came out.  Who cared?  I wasn't the only one.  Every single member of that 3,000-strong audience was cheering his heart out, because that's just what you do for Les Mis.  It's mind-blowing, utterly mind-blowing, and the only response that comes near to expressing what you feel is to cheer until your throat hurts and clap until your palms burn.

And that, my friends, was my Les Mis experience.


Hayden said...

Okay, I need to see a live version of this some time. Add it to my bucket list. Or, preferably, Things To do Before I'm Thirty. Or Twenty. Or Nineteen, actually.

Caroline L. said...

Same here, Hayden!

Oh, I'm SO GLAD it was beyond wonderful for you!!!

Anna said...

LOVED your review!! Its was quite entertaining, well written, and gave a good summary. I looked up some of those actors on you tube. They were fantastic! Empty chairs was AMAZING. I'm officially a huge fan of Devin.
I wanted to go to see Les Mis when it was near us but I will be out of town then *sob*

Alexandra said...


Ok, so you know now it's almost taken the motivation out of writing my review because you covered everything so well. :) Silly you. ;)

All I can say is yes, yes, yes, yes! SO AMAZING. The ONLY person I had a quibble Fantine. As you know. Gahhh, I wanted to cry on my Favorite Person Parts soooo bad...and just couldn't. But don't worry...Anne Hathaway TOTALLY TOTALLY TOTALLY makes up for it. Yup.

And Andrew Valera. SO MUCH INCREDIBLENESS. 'Nuff said.

Little Fall of Rain - perfection. Totally agree, I was won over to her Eponine in that scene. Same with Marius...and I kinda wonder if that's just what they do...because it was the same thing with Eddie in the film...he was great-but-not-AMAZING until Empty Chairs and then BAAAAAM blew me away. Must be intentional. :)

LOL about Cosette. ;)

Ok, so if you think it was better that you didn't see Gavroche's You are going to DIE on his death scene in the movie. Because it very much shows it. SNIFF.

CONFRONTATION WAS AWESOME!!!!!!! It was soooooo good. One Day More gave me CHILLS, it was soooo amazing!!!

YAYYYYYYYY. I loved the review! Need to get mine up...grrrr. :) Many claps to the EPIC thing!

Anonymous said...

Sigh. Yes. Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes.

Les Mis live was without a doubt one of the most phenomenal experiences of my lifetime.

The Confrontation... I'm not quite decided yet, but it might just be the BEST Les Mis song. Evah. On stage, on screen, in concert. :D Maybe it's because not just ANY two guys can pull it off how it should be done. It is one that can be dreadfully screwed up (coughcoughALFIEBOEANDNORMLEWIScoughcough), so when you hear a good version of it, it just makes the world a better place.

"on a scale of Russell Crowe to Philip Quast..." Oooohh, that was just mean, you little Chauvelin, you. :P NO JUDGING.

GAH. Marius and Cosette... still not a fan of them, but their SONGS. OH MY GOODNESS THEY ARE SO CUTE. I just die. Every time. Especially if the name of the guy who plays Marius begins with either a "Michael" or an "Eddie."

Do not speak to me of Little Fall. 1) Because it just breaks my heart, no matter how many times I watch it. 2) Because I still can't get over that they chopped it up in the movie. 3) I'm still trying to recover.

Well, I could write more (obviously) but my help is required in the kitchen! Another time, perhaps...

Madeline said...

Love your review! It came at the perfect time too, because I just saw the movie yesterday. Now, I have a question totally unrelated to Les Mis (treason, I know...) but I was at my local library when I saw the movie Mansfield Park. I know there is more than one version, and I was wondering which you'd recommend. The one I borrowed is the version with Mr. Elton from Emma '09.

Miss Dashwood said...

YES. You must see it ASAP. Preferably before your next birthday. :D The US tour is ending in August, but it's potentially going back to Broadway next year so... :D


Awwww, how sad! :( There's a grief that can't be spoken, there's a pain goes on and on... I do hope you get to see it sometime soon!

Mine Ally,
Well... soary. :P I do hope you review it eventually, though, because I would LOVE to read your detailed take on it. And STOP TANTALIZING me with talking about how awesome Anne Hathaway's going to be. Gah. All those trailers and fanvids are TORTURING me. I cannot live until Apriiiiiilllll...

Ha, yeah, I wonder if it IS intentional with Empty Chairs... though of course the Greatest Marius of All Time kinda just blows you away as soon as he opens his mouth in "Look Down." :P

*scrolls back up to see what I said about Cosette* Oh, yeah, it really is a shame there aren't more strong-voiced Cosettes... sigh. Couldn't you just see Jackie Evancho in the role someday? She'd be AMAZING.

Oh, I KNOW I'm going to be a mess when Gavroche gets killed in the movie... argghhhhhhh. DON'T ASK ME WHAT THAT SACRIFICE WAS FOR.

And yes, Confrontation and ODM were SO amazing!!

Puddle Duck,
The Confrontation is, of course, the best Les Mis song. Without a doubt. So is DYHTPS?. So is Empty Chairs. So is Little Fall. So are On My Own and One Day More... shall I go on? ;)

Ooh, that was mean, was it? Well, that WAS the general idea... heh, heh. Okay, I'm sorry. I shouldn't judge until I see him in the movie. ...but in my defense, I meant as far as singing goes. And even you must admit that RC can't hold a glow stick to Philip Quast when it comes to that last note in Stars.

OH YES about the Michael or Eddie thing in relation to Marius... heeheehee. I really do think they've reached a tie in my estimation... GASP.

I won't speak to you of Little Fall at this time... but you better believe that when I see the movie, you're gonna get an earful. :D

To be honest, I wouldn't recommend any of the versions of Mansfield Park, not wholeheartedly anyway. The one that I can tolerate is the 1983 version made by the BBC. The 1999 one is absolute garbage (there's some very inappropriate content), and I can't say the 2007 one is much better... I haven't actually seen it, but from what I've read and seen, it's very unfaithful to the original novel. The BBC really needs to make a new, faithful, entertaining and CLEAN version of that movie!!

So I can't really recommend any of them, but if you really want to watch one, I'd say go with the 1983 version.

Hayden Wall said...

Thank you for the wonderful review and for sharing the Les Mis experience with me!
-Hayden Wall, Gavroche, 25th Anniversary Tour, Les Miserables

Miss Dashwood said...

Hayden Wall,
Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Seriously, you just made my day. You were fabulous as Gavroche and my Les Mis experience was truly once-in-a-lifetime!

Melody said...

Heehee... so the first time I saw this post (just scanned it a little, you know) I read the "sigh no more, ladies" in a normal voice only this time I have that song from MAAN going through my head. ;)

Your bit about the makeup remover was hilarious, by the way. How do you manage to be so witty, m'dear? 'Tis one of the great mysteries about you...

Haha. I loved your quick run-down of the story. I must say it was even better than the one you sent me last year. (What was it? 300 words?)

I beg to differ... epicness is not a cop-out word. It is, perhaps, if it is viewed as the world views it, but viewed in the correct sense "epic" is too large of a word, figuratively speaking, for most people's usages of it. Like awesome. And often amazing.
But then, you know my opinions about THAT word. :P
(Ha, one time I heard somebody use the word "phenomenal" over and over again in this... well, it wasn't a speech, but it was a person talking on a stage about something and it's a long story and I'm already rambling too much...)

Hey, you forgot to use the word "divine". One must take lessons from Mona, you know. :D (And you might have been able to find a use for "revolting" somewhere, too...)

Marii, hahahahahaha... I have to say, though, I don't really care for Michael Ball's hair. Don't kill me please.

Have to say, I did like the way you managed to include a few JA quotes in this. Heeheehee.

I want to know, Anne. I WANT TO KNOW. ...Just how much money DID you put in the dude's tip box?
(Yes. I am nosy. Was that your first clue? :P)

Anonymous said...

I'm coming to your Les Mis party a little late, as I just discovered your blog yesterday, but I couldn't resist commenting anyway! Your review inspired in me a massive flashback. I, too, read Les Mis in high school for a literature class. I, too, saw Les Mis onstage my senior year, and experienced many of the same flutterings of emotion that you so aptly described. My experience was a *little* different, as when I saw it they were still using the revolving barricades. I marveled briefly at the fact that I could wonder about the technical aspects of the actors' performances (HOW is he hanging there over that barricade?) and at the same time be fully engrossed in the story (ie, crying buckets).

Thank you for reviving such pleasantly nostalgic memories! I am glad to know there are still nice girls inspired by touching stories!

Miss Jane Bennet said...

This was a GREAT review!!!!! :)
I really enjoy long, long posts...
By the way, Les Mis is touring the States again and I'm thinking of going. Is it the same one?
(Sorry if this question is completely stupid, I'm somewhat of a newcomer to musicals.)