On Tuesday, Mike and I attended opening night of Broadway Across Canada’s Les Miserables!
Our experience with Les Mis prior to attending this musical was based solely on the 2012 movie. (I know, shame on us, as it’s been kicking around for nearly 30 years!) But I loved the movie and Mike liked it (probably more than he was expecting). So I’m glad we saw it before attending the live show because it prepared us in a few ways: Mainly, we were familiar with the plot, characters and songs and we knew it was going to be beginning-to-end singing. I feel like if people were experiencing Les Mis for the first time ever and they weren’t aware of those things, it could be a bit overwhelming! There’s a lot going on!
We thought the show was excellent – powerful and emotional. Peter Lockyer as Jean Valjean was incredible. Joseph Spieldenner and Natalie Beck as the Innkeeper and his wife were hilarious. I feel just as bad for this musical version of Eponine as I did for movie version Eponine. Poor Eponine. One of my favourite characters – brought up by people with really no morals, but still turned out so good. To help Marius and Cosette find one another, despite being madly in love with Marius – well let’s just say if I were in the situation I probably wouldn’t have done the same. Lol. Briana Carlson-Goodman (Eponine)’s rendition of On My Own was truly captivating and heartbreaking. Everyone, really, were vocal superstars. They didn’t miss a beat and the sold-out auditorium was hanging onto every last thrilling, haunting note.
And I loved the set! The digital screen at the back of the stage made for some great scenes. There was a sewer scene that had a super cool 3D quality to it thanks to projections onto the screen. The physical set was also very impressive, with tall buildings, sliding to various areas of the stage depending on the scene. The wagon prop in the scene where Jean Valjean rescues a man stuck underneath the wagon, with a lot of heavy equipment balancing precariously on it, along with the barricade of the revolution, were sights to see. It was just a great visual feast for the eyes.
The only negatives of this show would be that at three hours on the dot – it just felt very long and this version is even shortened compared to past productions! It also feels like it’s set to play on fast forward – as I said earlier, if you weren’t already familiar with the plot, characters and songs, the show can really just blow right past you. It seemed very rushed at times. You also need to be very punctual. The intercom lady who speaks prior to the show starting is very stern in her messaging that if you are late, you won’t be seated until an appropriate time. 8 P.M. SHARP! means 8 p.m. sharp. I was worried Mike and I were going to be locked out! The intermission break is also very short and again, you’re urged to get back to your seats pronto.
Beyond that, it was a fantastic, captivating show. And really such a great night out in general.
Les Mis runs in Edmonton at the Northern Jubilee Auditorium until Sunday.
Such a brief stint in our city – make sure you catch it before it’s gone!
So did you see this version of Les Mis? What did you think?!