Les Misérables has returned to Washington and DC audiences are all the better for it. This musical version of the classic Victor Hugo novel is currently playing at National Theatre through January 4th.
Les Misérables follows the dramatic tale of Jean Valjean. Jailed for stealing bread to feed his sister's starving child, Valjean is released from prison to start a new life. At first his road is hard but soon his journey takes him from being a parolee to a respected public official and finally an adoptive father. All the while the determined Javert is hunting him.
Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg have taken Hugo's work and created a timeless piece that is enthralling to both listen to and to watch. The music by Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer are simply gorgeous.
This production as a whole is performed skillfully by a fine cast. Randal Keith displays a powerful voice and a wonderful presence as Jean Valjean. This role fits him like a glove, and he is especially strong during his performance of "Bring Him Home."
As Valjean's nemesis, Javert, Stephen Tewksbury is quite impressive. Cast mate Jessica-Snow Wilson has created an appealing Eponine. She brings a sympathetic childlike quality to the character and it works well. Additionally, Jayne Paterson delivers a lovely portrayal of the doomed Fantine.
If there is a weak link in this production, it would be Michael Hayward-Jones, who portrays Thénardier, the devious innkeeper. Mr. Hayward-Jones has a fine voice but he is terribly miscast in this role. He is a bit too smooth and sings too prettily for this character. Unfortunately, he never manages to capture the darker undertones of the comical Thénardier and is often upstaged by Madame Thénardier as played by Jodi Capeless.
That one small weakness aside, Les Misérables does not
disappoint. It is a stunning piece of work that has made its mark in
The National Theatre
Cast List (in alphabetical order)
Young Cosette/Young Eponine (12/25-12/29): Christiana Anbri