Queen’s Theatre – Les Miserables

Which theatre should be the first to visit? The choice is really hard with so many great shows on.
So, purely based on the fact that we are in the heart of UK I chose Queen’s Theatre. This year was the Queen’s Samphire Jubilee after all.

 

Theatre

Queen’s Theatre is in the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres group together with Gielgud, Nöel Coward, Novello, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Victoria Palace and Wyndham’s Theatres. Delfont Mackintosh Theatres group was founded in 1991 by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, a renowned producer and one of the most influential personas in the theatrical world.

Queen’s Theatre opened in 1907, just a few months after the opening of its twin, Gielgud Theatre, which mirrors the similar architecture and is located at the opposite angle of the same building. As you might have guessed the name has nothing to do with Queen Elizabeth II, but her great grandmother Queen Alexandra of Denmark.

In 1940, the theatre was seriously damaged during the air raids and reopened to the public only in 1959 after reconstruction works mostly for the exterior part and the foyer of the building.

Some of my handpicked fascinating highlights about the theatre:

Appearance of Marlene Dietrich in a cabaret in 1964 and later in 1972

Franco Zeffirelli directing Joan Plowright in Saturday, Sunday, Monday in 1974

Another Country starring Rupert Everett in 1982 later replaced by Daniel Day Lewis and Colin Firth

 

Plot

Les Miserables is a novel written by French Romantic movement writer, Victor Hugo. The plot evolves in the early 19th century France when the country was going through a political and economic turmoil.

The original story was adapted for the musical; however, it is still quite complicated but I will try to keep it short: main character, Jean Valjean is an ex-convict, released from prison on parole. He decides to change his identity and lifestyle after a bishop refuses to denounce him for steeling the church silver and tells him he can use the silver to become a better man. We see Jean Valjean 8 years later as a Mayor and a factory owner. Fantine, who was fired from Jean Valjean’s factory is working as a prostitute to support her little daughter, Cosette. Jean Valjean learns about Fantine’s unfortunate story when he tries to save her from the police and promises to take care of her daughter, Cosette as Fantine is on her deathbed. Jean Valjean has to leave the town where he is the Mayor because he is identified as an ex-convict by a police-officers, Javert. We see Jean Valjean again after 9 years in Paris with her adopted daughter, Cosette. Cosette falls in love with Marius, a revolutionary student participating in Paris uprising. Jean Valjean learns about their love and goes to the barricades to save Marius. Javert is also at the barricades, working under cover, but one of the revolutionaries recognises him and Jean Valjean volunteers to shoot him. However, Jean Valjean lets Javert go instead of shooting him. Uprising ends with a terrible bloodshed. Jean Valjean saves Marius, wounded and unconscious. Javert commits a suicide as he cannot resolve whether to arrest Jean Valjean because of his past crimes or let him go for his merciful acts. Jean Valjean gives inheritance to Cosette and Marius, confesses his true identity to Marius and retires to a convent. At his wedding Marius discovers that Jean Valjean saved his life during uprising and all his merciful acts. He goes to the convent with Cosette to find Jean Valjean on his deathbed and assure him that he is a better man than he thinks he is. Jean Valjean passes away peacefully.

 

Production

Les Miserables, the musical first premiered in France in 1980. The music was created by Claude-Michel Schönberg and the lyrics were written by Alain Boublil. The album was brought to Cameron Mackintosh’ attention in 1982 and after 3 years of working on the production, Les Miserables premiered on West End stage in 1985.

 

Producer:      Cameron Mackintosh

Directors:     Trevor Nunn and John Caird

Casting:        James Orange Casting

020 3393 2612

casting@jamesorange.com

Linear House, Peyton Place, Greenwich, London, SE10 8RS

The most recent major cast change was in June 2017. There are no open auditions for the ensemble.

 

Ticket

The cheapest ticket I could find for my seat was on Amazon Tickets. £55 for the back seat in the stalls. It was hard to see the top part of the stage props, but the problem could be solved by slightly leaning forward from time to time.

Performance time is 2 hours 50 minutes

 

The Theatre Rat

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