Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

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Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:54 am

Les Mis London August 25th 2014, or Baby's First London Les Mis

As I *cough* forgot *cough* to do a review for TO, I've made sure I'm doing it now. Hah. I'm going to split the acts into different posts because this got really long.

CAST:
Jean Valjean - Chris Holland
Javert - David Thaxton
Fantine - Celinde Schoenmaker
Thenardier - Tom Edden
Mme Thenardier - Wendy Ferguson
Marius - Rob Houchen
Cosette - Emilie Fleming
Éponine - Carolina Gregory
Enjolras - Michael Colbourne

Preshow

We got our seats about twenty five minutes before the curtain was up, so I dug out my programme and the stage to screen book I'd bought and flicked through that until my aunt tapped me on the shoulder, pointed to the stage and said, "she's here"; the logo had appeared and I let out a small squeak. Yes, I was a bit (very) overexcited. When the announcements before curtain up came on, I spotted about four people around me preparing to take bootlegs. I didn't, because I didnt have anything to take one with and I'm too scared of getting caught. Yeah. Valjean was Chris Holland, who wasn't on the cast list but apparently he fills from time to time? James Gant wasn't on (because he was Courfeyrac) and Si Shorten wasn't there because the foreman and Claquesous were played by a swing.

Act 1
Lights down, curtain up, opening chords. Never going to fail to give me chills. I had trouble focusing as the convicts were coming on because people were choosing then to put their phones away so there were pools of blue and white lights flashing everywhere. Agh. Adam Pearce, convict two, has a very very deep voice. Most seem to do that line down the octave, I've noticed. Chris was short compared to David Thaxton in the hat; there was about half a foot between then. It wasn't as vitriolic as Toronto was, but then Holland didn't shout all his lines like Ramin Karimloo did. Thaxton's "no" was very dismissive and I liked it. As Valjean left the quarry and all the convicts and officers went offstage, there was a moment where Javert and Valjean were looking at each other, Javert in a soft spotlight. (my brain, admittedly, started shouting "UST! UST!" at me, which I had to smother) I don't know if that's a usual thing, but it was effective note that Javert'll be back. Prologue goes on, all very good. Adam Linstead was the Bish, and, as much as I like Adam, his Bish voice really bugged me; it was nasally with too much vibrato and it wasn't nice to listen to at all. Acting on the other hand...
When the Bishop approached Valjean, Valjean flinched, showed signs of being hostile, then gave up, sighing in defeat and handing over his yellow paper without even looking at the Bishop. Bishop didn't look at the paper. Andrew Love did that in TO as well, so I assume it's a thing? Yeah. People started chuckling when Valjean rushed to Myriel's table and started wolfing the food down, which was weird. Really, audience? The guy was literally starving.

The thing about Chris' voice is his high notes weren't strong. On "took my flight", I was amazed his voice didn't crack. He went for about a seventh, and it ended up being a screamy wail. To his credit, he was running round the stage. When the Bishop was doing the pardon, the guards (I can't remember who they were. Doi. Sure one of them was Jonny Purchase) looked sheepish and rather embarrassed as they gave Valjean his bag back.
The soliloquy went well. I could see Valjean's anguish and turmoil, even if the high notes were still a bit of an issue.

Overture played, massive round of applause. ATEOTD sounded a little top heavy in places, but otherwise it was great. The ensemble playing the poor were bitey and aggressive, just the way I like it. Celinde was sitting and chatting with some other factory girls, who appeared to be her friends. Foreman was a slimy git. There was a bit when, after Fantine received her letter from the foreman (after much pervyness on the foreman's part, including dropping the letter to get Fantine to bend over, dragging his hand up her waist, etc.) she came face to face with Jo Loxton, who glared at her suspiciously. Fantine went and sat with the other girls until Factory Girl started her verse. Jo Loxton did the bitchiness right. On Fantine's line about the bit on the side, she turned to the foreman with a "srsly?" expression. Then came the violence. Ow. Valjean comes in, breaks it up, all well and good. Now, Fantine's 'friends' won't go anyway near her. She tries to explain to Valjean, but he walks off. Foreman isn't having any of Fantine's pleas. She runs out as everyone leaves and goes against the leftmost wall, looking close to tears. Some of the girls who she was friendly with mock her, as do the male factory workers.

Celinde put a lot of emotion into IDAD, but her diction was a bit poor and some of her words muddled together. She belted a lot too, but would switch to head voice mid phrase, which sounded odd. Apart from that, she really connected with the audience. She was sad at what had happened to her, angry at Tholomyès and mournful for her fate, and you can tell. She deserved the massive applause she got.
Lovely ladies was more compacted than the 25th staging, and the lighting made it a lot more creepy. Liked that. Bamatabois (Adam Pearce again) was also a slimy git. He shoved his cane between Fantine's legs and wiggled it which was horrible and probably painful. Fantine clocks him, then he knocks her out. She comes to as Javert arrives, though Javert's judgement is clear before she' seven moving. The whores all screamed and scarpered. Javert was very no nonsense and cold in this scene. When Valjean came on and he and Fantine were interacting, it was just sad. Like, really sad. Chris showed his remorse for Fantine, Celinde was resenting.

In the bit before Who Am I? Thacko's characterisation slipped a bit and he was Maxi again, complete with snide chuckle, I kid you not. That let me down a bit.
Who Am I? itself was pretty good, but again, high notes. The guy from the Voice whose name I can't remember was on as one of the guards, and I swear to god I thought he was a girl in drag.
Fantine's death made the tears start coming. Not a dry eye. Valjean was sympathetic and tender to Fantine, and he kissed her forehead.
Confrontation time! Not as fight-like as the 25th staging, (meaning that no one got choked with a chain) but Valjean ran round Fantine's bed with Javert chasing him and it made me think of cops and robbers a bit. My brain was great at being inappropriate yesterday. When Valjean hit him at the very end, Javert was a little dramatic in his flop to the floor. More brain being inappropriate.

On to CoaC. Little Cosette was tiny! She looked younger by far than Saara Chaudry, and only a bit older than my eldest pupil (who's going to be six in December and wants to be Cosette now). Her acting was a bit jerky and her note endings were a bit too short. I think she had a northern accent. Wendy came on as Mme T and was about three times Cosette's size. A bit shouty, but frightening. Little Éponine was a brat, pushing Cosette out the door. Thankfully, no one here was laughing at child abuse. People in the TO audience started chuckling and I wasn't too impressed.
Now, MotH. Tom Edden was greasy, creepy and sinister.
Adam Linstead got slapped twice after Thenardier did the 'pinch-point-punch' move, which was funny as a recurring gag. Twice was just right though, anymore and it would just be boring. Thenardier also grabbed Jessamy Stoddart's cleavage three times and mimed humping Mme T during the bridal suite line. It was done well as a number and deserved its claps and cheers (and a few giggles as Thenardier threw up into the meat grinder at the end). Best part was just watching Adam and James Gant just doing things.

Then came the forest scene. More jerky acting from Cosette. Valjean was a perfect gentleman to her. They were so cute. I think Valjean had his mic turned down or it was faulty during the CoaC melody, because Cosette was louder than he was and there was a feedback whine. The mics were being weird the whole night though. During the waltz, the Thenardiers got a few more laughs and a heck of a lot of glares from Valjean. When Cosette was taken away, Valjean dressed her in a mini version of her convent dress and bonnet, which was adorable. He made her close her eyes and hold her arms out to give her Catherine, and the moment the doll touched her, she acted exactly as I imagine a child receiving their first ever toy would. And wasn't all jerky. Little Cosette gave me a good last impression.

They passed through the first few Look Down beggars as they exited and then it was Paris time. Gavroche was pretty cute but he had the character down well. He wasn't too 'aww look at the lil kid!' and more sly gamin. Liked him. Here came the boys. I really like Rob Houchen. His voice is lovely, he has the awkward charmingness that Marius needs. Michael Colbourne...eh. He didn't impress me in Look Down at all. The other students and beggars ignored him and his "before the barricades arise" was pretty weak.
Carolina Gregory is absolutely tiny (I think I'm even taller than her), but she had stage presence and reminded me a bit of Dani Hope when she came on. Montparnasse is yet another slimy git. Also copped a feel and got a knee between the legs from Éponine. He got his knife out, Éponine gave him a 'srsly m8?' face and ignored him.
She wasn't too friendly with Rob's Marius either, instead Marius treated her with a mix of sympathy and annoyance. When Marius and Cosette first met, you could tell that they were both besotted with each other. (Emilie Fleming is gorgeous, by the way, but more on that later)

In the robbery this time Thenardier pretended to be a peg leg with one eye, a disguise he ripped off as soon as he recognised Valjean. Marius sprung to protect Cosette. Javert strode on and everyone was still. He really had everyone in his grip. There wasn't too long a pause before the start, but enough time for Javert to help Valjean to his feet. Valjean and Cosette ran away when Marius wasn't looking. Some ad libbing from Tom here, "and remember when you've nicked him, it was me who told you...nope, sorry, never mind". That got a chuckle.
Now, Stars. I have no words. Thaxton owned it. It was a gorgeous performance. Need I say more.
Gavroche's lyrics are different here than what I remember, "trust Gavroche, have no fear, don't you worry, I'll be here". Don't know when that change was.

Éponine's errand was nice enough, but wasn't either of Rob or Carolina's strongest moments. This was the one bit where Carolina played the "swooning Disney princess", and Rob didn't seem to care much.
Now, ABC café. First time I've ever heard the triplety chromatic intro bit live and there was a little bit of squeakiness from me. Gavroche was standing on the railing at the top of the set and was bobbing along. At this point I was still feeling a little indifferent towards Michael's Enjolras. His voice was still a bit weak. But here is where he got his skates on. He sounded vaguely annoyed that Marius was late, but he was too busy talking to James Gant and Jonny Purchase and listening to them. I had completely forgotten that Jeremy Batt was there. Either he's wearing a wig or he's grown his hair because his hair looked like Finn Jones'. Chris Edwards was a good R, actually. He was funny, did the dirty humour, tried getting handy with Enjolras but stopped when Michael gave him a disapproving look. He ad libbed a bit too, after the "who cares about your lonely soul", he stood up and went "I do!" really quickly, which was quite funny. The beginning of Red and Black was when Michael Colbourne began to impress me. He was quiet and pensive here, but got louder as the song built. He listened to Marius, but wasn't interested much. The look to the audience is still there and still gave me chills.

Lamarque is Dead leading into DYHtPS got my heart going again. Colbourne!Jolras went from disbelief to knowing that it was their opportunity. The start of DYHtPS was his best bit in the whole show, actually. He started quite hushed and contemplative, then built up, rousing the rest of the Amis. He didn't do the half whisper on 'life' in "there is a life about to start" that I like, but that's me being nitpicky.
To quote my aunt, the students' voices were a powerful wall of sound. Ashley Stillburn was great as Feuilly. He spoke to the people around him, and to the audience. That's still my favourite verse and he did it superbly. When the cart went round, Colbourne!Jolras held on to the rope. I was half hoping he wouldn't, but that's me nitpicking again.

Now, In My Life. Emilie Fleming was brilliant. She didn't sit there and look pretty, just gazing into space with giant eyes. She acted with the lyrics, and kept strong in her verse with Chris. She's also really beautiful and her voice is lovely now. Not too much vibrato, sweet and light. Rob was acting very In Love, and Carolina had dropped the Fallen Princess act.
AHFoL was sweet and romantic. Rob, Carolina and Emilie were all perfect. Not much more to say here apart from Emilie nailed the Bb.

Attack on Rue Plumet was nothing too special. Monty likes his knife and desperately wanted to get at Éponine. Claquesous and Brujon held him back. Carolina was fierce here though. She wasn't about to put up with Patron Minette's crap. An interesting thing was, as the set turned as Marius climbed over, Cosette and Éponine mirrored each other's movements on either side of the gate.

Now, One Day More. My heart started going again. Valjean was pensive, Marius and Cosette were heartbroken (and did the Romeo and Juliet hand-kiss thing again), Éponine was mildly resentful and looking pretty upset. Enjolras, when he came on, was a bit weak again, didn't project enough and his gun arm was blocking his head. The Enjolras and Combeferre handclasp is still part of the slomo bit (yay), as was an Enjolras and Feuilly interaction. The cast were a powerhouse and got a roar of applause. The turntable faced them away from the audience as the lights went down. Does it always do that? Anyway, massive applause and cheers. One act down, one to go.
Last edited by TheRandomPhangirl on Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:55 am

Act 2
People were still going back into their seats when the lights went up, so I was awkwardly standing when the revolutionaries rushed onto the stage. I don't know if they could see me in my dorky jacket, but I hope to god they couldn't.
Rob didn't even pretend to be fooled by Éponine's disguise and the "hey little boy" line was almost sarcastic. He was not impressed that she was there. Here, Colbourne became a mix of GI!Jolras and pwn!Jolras which was...alright but odd after he'd been so bricky beforehand. Getting to see them actually 'building' the barricade was nice too.
Éponine's disguise want really working at all because Valjean wasn't fooled either; he pulled off Éponine's had mid way through the scene. Éponine stayed to hear the first bit of Marius' speech, got to "now that I know that you love me as well", then left. Chris' expression was similar to Hugh Jackman's in terms of "oh sh*t my daughter's in love with someone who's about to get himself killed. I gotta do something like, now"

On My Own. Carolina needs a medal. It was more active than I remember, Carolina made her way upstage, then at the climax tore her hat off and ran upstage. It was a fantastic performance, very dramatic. Girl has a good belt.
The barricade. Oh my god. That set is AWESOME. Carolina was already small, but she was completely dwarfed by the sheer size of that thing! Wow!
The boys are back. Ashley Stillburn is not a squeaky Feuilly, thank god. His "let them come if they dare/ we'll be there" was strong, supported and with good vibrato on it. Adam Linstead did the warnings, then wandered back on the stage. The tempo of Javert's arrival was pretty slow compared to recordings I've listened to, which was the same with other bits in the show too. Little People wasn't annoying, which is a plus. James Gant's "shoot the bastard!" was very loud and very visible and he pointed his gun straight at Javert's chest. Colbourne was back to solemn and stern but not too vitriolic.

Next up, ALFoR. This was so sad in all the right ways. Carolina's voice was quiet and she didn't belt on "sleep in your embrace at last" as some Eponines do, and I prefer it when they don't because she's dying for crying out loud. She leaned up to kiss him but didn't make it. More tears from me here. Wasn't quite full waterworks yet. Gavroche didn't react apart from tapping Jeremy Batt on the leg to get his attention. After Éponine's body was taken away, Rob didn't move. He stayed there, silent and in disbelief. Combeferre laid a hand on his shoulder to comfort him, and Grantaire hugged him.

Then Valjean came to the barricade and I had to dry my tears quickly. Battle was full of energy. Couldn't quite hear the "snipers!" line, but it was loud and I think the mics were being weird again, Colbourne's high notes on "I will thank you, Monsieur, when our battle is won" were a little cringey.
On "shoot me now for all I care", Thacko took the muzzle of Chris' gun and pointed it at his chest. More dramatic Javert. (more brain doing the UST chant) I could see the left wings pretty clearly from where I was sitting, and I could see Javert turning back and taking a good look at Valjean before leaving. Enjolras and Valjean shared a nod. Marius was still, rather frantically, looking over the barricade, when Enjolras told him to rest.

Drink With Me. I have a lot to say about this. It started off nicely. I lost sight of Jeremy until halfway through "here's to them", so Joly's line was coming out of thin air. Now, Chris Edwards' big moment. Like in Toronto, people started laughing when he began, thinking it was going to be funny. How wrong they were. First, he got angry, but then, he took Enjolras by the shoulders on "will the world remember you when you fall" and dissolved into sobs by the end of the verse, head in hands. Colbourne knelt by him, patted his head, more or less cradled it, got the bottle off him, the stood up. Thanks for the punch in the feelings, guys. You all know how very little flips I give for e/R, but here, they made me care about them. (Chris and Michael know full well about the ship though. I mean, have you seen their tweets?) They kept looking at each other for the rest of the song. Brain started up the UST chant. Again. I think the only Drink With Me I've seen that was more slashy was Thaxton and Neely (?) with their famous hug. Rob's verse was so tender and sad. Poor Marius.

I was a little nervous about Bring Him Home, given Chris' high notes, but I had nothing to be worried about. It was a beautiful rendition. Halfway through, Marius shifted a little in his sleep, and Valjean looked almost fondly at him. The last note was a little strained, but I didn't care.

Dawn of Anguish. Enjolras was very solemn. Women had to rush out because of the boom, while Adam snuck off to do the loudhailer again. I couldn't see Gavroche go over the barricade because he was so small and the barricade was so...big. Lots of internal swearing going on because I knew what was going to happen and I didn't like it. Gavroche was a bit flat here. The first shot made me jump out my skin. Then the second, the bag made it over, then the third and the poor kid collapsed. I was nearly crying again. The barricade turned round and everyone was more shocked and angry than upset. R slumped into a chair in disbelief. Then the music went and the lights went. Colbourne did the Bb but it was weak and short lived. Marius got hit pretty early on, and Enjolras and Grantaire had another moment over his comatose body. Enjolras shot up the barricade and waved the flag. Then got shot. R screamed his name and I started crying because yay, one of my favourites is dead. Then they all went one by one, and I turned into a human fountain.

I didn't pay much attention during the next bit due to the fact I was blubbing. Looking up when the music swelled and Enjolras' body was revealed didn't help. What I did take in was that Javert was tremendously annoyed he couldn't get the sewer hatch open. Had to stop blubbing for Dog Eats Dog though.
For one moment I thought they'd cut it when Valjean and Marius came on. Don't know why I thought that. Tom Edden was so creepy and horrible in this bit. He also sang the "ain't the world a remarkable place" line, which I've never heard a Thenardier do before.
As Rob's collar was white, I could see him shifting positions in the blacked out bits of stage while Valjean was carrying Marius through the sewers.

Javert was already looking a bit derailed by the time he caught up with Valjean. His "take him Valjean" wasn't a shout, but it was a command alright.
I didn't know the blocking in Javert's soliloquy was supposed to mirror the beginning of Valjean's (i.e, the rushing to each side of the stage, then stopping in defeat). Thaxton's suicide was fantastic. He was angry and confused, completely thrown over what happened. The blocking was gorgeous. The lighting and thrashing made him look like he was underwater. I remembered then that's the last we see of Javert til the bows. Nearly cried again.

Turning. Turning was sad, though the "they were schoolboys, never held a gun" line still annoys me. At the end, as the stage turned for the cafe, there was a soft spotlight on two of the turning girls. One appeared to take the other's hand and put it on her stomach.
Now. Empty Chairs. My favourite song. If it's done well, I start crying. Needless to say the waterworks dud indeed come on again. I liked what Rob did with it. He wasn't just sad, he was angry too, 'why did it have to be my friends?' and gave the impression he was lonely without them. He sang it very beautifully and I was impressed.

At the start of Every Day, Marius was a little distant towards Cosette, still lost in thoughts of his friends, but Emilie brought him back down to earth. They were as tender and sweet towards each other as they were before.
Valjean's Confession always reminds me of the difference between brick!Marius and musical!Marius. Musical!Marius accepts it and doesn't care, which is a bit different from his book counterpart, as we know. I've always found this bit really sad, because Valjean leaves.

But the sad's over quickly because it's the wedding! It was very happy, which was needed seeing as half the cast is dead now. It was a little odd seeing Christian Edwards not do the normal Grantaire track (which Adam kept over cast change), and he was just a normal guest. Colbourne however, played a very camp waiter with a silly wig. The Thenardiers showed up, got the money off Marius, and Thenardier got punched hard in the face by Marius. Mme and Thenardier both started nicking loads of silver, which promptly dropped out of where they'd stashed them. Thenardier pointed at the Major Domo, looking all scandalised. That was pretty humorous.

Beggars at the Feast was funny with a dark edge to it. The queer was Jeremy Batt, and I found that amusing because of his Loras Tyrell hair and Loras is...well, yeah. Thenardier spun Madame out and she slipped a bit. A bit of ad libbing and they patched it up.

Finally, the epilogue. Valjean was a sorry sight. I felt so sad for him. Fantine had an effect put on her mic so she sounded ghostly. Emilie sounded like she was about to cry on her last line, and when Valjean did die, which was earlier than I remembered, she started sobbing hysterically. The harmony between Fantine, Valjean and Éponine at the end is so beautiful. Cue the heavenly choir. The verses at the end always get me, and the harmony on the repeat was just so amazing to hear live from such a strong cast. They got a standing ovation. When they were taking the bows, Enjolras and Gavroche did theirs together and did a funny handshake. That was pretty adorable.

Stage Door
As I had to see off my aunt and my gran is an octogenarian, we had to go pretty slowly to stage door and probably missed some people. I didn't meet Michael, Chris, David, Carolina or Christian, but I got quite a few others. No pictures though. I did chat to a few people, and Adam Linstead told me he liked my vest, Jonny Purchase high fived me and Ashley Stillburn and I agreed that Feuilly's a good role to play. Good day, that was.

Overall

Chris Holland - Pretty solid acting and singing, even though his high notes were a bit cringey here and there. Gave a good performance. 4/5

David Thaxton - Really good performance. Solos sung beautifully, and acting more or less solid with one or two slips. Strong stage presence. Thaxton is one of my favourite actors and now he's a favourite Javert too. 4.5/5

Celinde Schoenmaker - Lovely to watch and listen to, even if sometimes her diction and usage of voice were a bit off. 3.5/5

Tom Edden and Wendy Ferguson - They were a good mix of humour and evil. They gave good performances and didn't ham it up too much. Together, 3/5

Rob Houchen - Really adored his performance. Stunning voice, good acting and good interactions with his fellow cast members. Now on the favourite Marii list. 4.5/5

Emilie Fleming - Pleasantly surprised. Lovely, sweet voice, made the role her own and gave Cosette a character. 4/5

Carolina Gregory - Didn't act like a generic 'friendzoned' Éponine, had moments of very good acting. Very strong voice. Like to see more of her someday. 3.5/5

Michael Colbourne - He needs to beef his voice up a little, but he has a lot of potential for the future. He's close to being a very good Enjolras, but needs more confidence and maturity. 3.5/5

Ensemble - sounded terrific together, if a bit top heavy in parts. Ad libbing and acting all very good. 4/5

Overall Performance 4.5/5
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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby Gervais » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:48 am

I'm glad people weren't laughing at the bit after CoaC, but people, why were you waiting until the show started to out your phones up??? :evil: It's almost funny; the (few) touring shows I've seen never really have a cell phone problem, but I keep hearing about the Broadway or West End ones having crap like that. You'd think it would be the other way around, if at all.

Carolina sounds like she was great, though! :D
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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:48 pm

Gervais wrote:I'm glad people weren't laughing at the bit after CoaC, but people, why were you waiting until the show started to out your phones up??? :evil: It's almost funny; the (few) touring shows I've seen never really have a cell phone problem, but I keep hearing about the Broadway or West End ones having crap like that. You'd think it would be the other way around, if at all.

Carolina sounds like she was great, though! :D


It's because they're doo doo heads with bad theatre etiquette *grumble grumble grumbleeeeee*. I noted all the bootleggers had concealed their devices a looong while before then >.>

Carolina was an awesome Éponine. She's been on as Cosette as well, and she looks pretty different in the bonnet and convent dress! *as well as just really pretty. ahem*
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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:45 pm

So as it turns out I'm seeing the show again in two or so weeks. (Possibly once more after with les mis kids) I doubt I'll write a second review, but I'll make notes on the different cast members; Peter Lockyer and Carrie Hope Fletcher are probably going to be there.
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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby Acaila » Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:27 pm

I'm going in February. Also a local school is doing it in the second half of the school year, so roll on my 20th! Excited to see Thacko especially, though bf's sister is going for Carrie mostly.
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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:14 pm

Right! Few notes from last Saturday as there's no point making a new post:

Performance itself

-Whole cast of principals! Never happened before for me.

-I didn't like Peter Lockyer at first, but I warmed up to him as it went on

-Either I've changed or Celinde's Fantine has gotten better because I got weepy at IDAD and Fantine's Death, and I didn't last time

-Peter Lockyer has Chris Holland beat for high notes

-Michael Colbourne would be a whole lot more Enjolraic if he didn't strut occasionally. Otherwise he was a lot better than August.

-Jeremy Batt must have blow dried his hair, because now it was bouncy and silky looking instead of the mad curls he had before.

-Christian Edwards larked about with Jeremy Batt and Bradley Jaden, even if that is a coincidence, it was nice to see the Breakfast Club interacting.

-Edwards and Colbourne were playing the slash up a lot during Drink With Me. They nearly cuddled. Nearly.

-Emilie Fleming might just be my new favourite Cosette.

-Rob Houchen was considerably more upset in ALFoR than last time.

-I was pleasantly surprised by CHF. I wasn't expecting much from the audio I had of her before, but she was pretty good actually.

-I still hate Adam Linstead's Bish voice.

-At the end of ECAET, there was a glass of water on the table, and Marius raised it in one last 'toast' to his friends. Needless to say it set the waterworks off. Either I missed that before or it's new.

-Thackovert has less Maxi Moments now. Good.

-On the subject of Javert, after the Final Battle, Javert was at the top of the barricade as it turned round to show Enjolras' body, and it was clear that he was looking at him. When it turned round again, there was a moment when Javert looked...the best word I suppose is upset about it. He stood there motionless, a glazed look on his face. Pretty sure he didn't do that before either.

-This Little Cosette was better than the last one, though to be fair she looked older.

-I note that Thackojolras held the 'rise' in 'barricades arise' on for a bit. Evidently he's been rubbing off on Colbourne, whose 'rise' was about six seconds long. Not bad.

Stagedoor

-David Thaxton must disappear into smoke or something, because I was the first person at stage door and he was gone before that. Damn.

-Lee Dillon-Stuart called me 'my darling'. Lol.

-Michael Colbourne hugged me when I gave him his art. Also said he'd seen it online. Oh. HOW DO I REACT.

-Emilie Fleming didn't believe me when I told her Cosette is one of my favourites.

-Met Peter Lockyer. Yay!

-Met Carolina Gregory. YAY! (I was right, I'm taller than her.)

-The whole point of my friend and I going was so my friend could meet Carrie. Then she wouldn't go with me to talk to her. :( Also Carrie said she saw my art on Tumblr as well. Again, how do I react to that? Don't think she saw the watercolour one though.

-There was a whole throng of fans waiting for Rob Houchen. He was pretty nice though.

-I got photos with Rob, Michael and Christian.

-I *think* everyone liked their presents :/

Overall:

Peter Lockyer: Great pipes, warmed up to him. 4/5
David Thaxton: Still awesomeness. 4.5/5
Celinde Schoenmaker: I still enjoy her performance a lot
Tom Edden and Wendy Ferguson: Were playing up the comedy but were stil pretty nasty. 3.5/5
Emilie Fleming: Still like her a lot. An endearing and sweet Cosette. 4/5
Rob Houchen: A lovely performance as always. 4/5
Carrie Hope Fletcher: Pleasant surprise, had a feral edge. 4/5
Michael Colbourne: He's gotten a lot better as his run's gone on, apart from a few places here and there. 4/5
Ensemble: Same as before.
I'm the one to shout "Down with Polignac!"

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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:45 pm

Interesting... I kinda felt the same way about Lockyer when I saw him in the US Tour in the summer of '13. He left me cold for a good chunk of Act 1 (really, the whole cast did), but I warmed up to him and the production as a whole once he met Little Cosette -- from then on, I loved him in the role. :D

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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Sat May 30, 2015 4:11 pm

Prisoner 24653 wrote:Interesting... I kinda felt the same way about Lockyer when I saw him in the US Tour in the summer of '13. He left me cold for a good chunk of Act 1 (really, the whole cast did), but I warmed up to him and the production as a whole once he met Little Cosette -- from then on, I loved him in the role. :D


Lockyer was on last night (all principles were except thacko, who I think couldn't get in because of train services from what I could make out from tweets. :shock: but I got James gant's probable last performance as Javert) and I enjoyed his performance a bit more this time. Even if he was overacting with his hand a little bit.

Some thoughts I had last night:
Act 1-
Little Cosette didn't act at all. Her voice wasn't that nice either. Gavroche on the other hand was channelling Robert Madge, which I see as a positive quality. Fight me. I noticed the 'Azelma' kid in Look Down this time as well. There were small interactions between all three Thenardier kids actually. When Gavroche came on Éponine nudged the girl next to her, now apparently identified as Azelma (apparently that's what John Caird said when he visited rehearsal the other day), and pointed. Gavroche nodded in their direction. Also, after the robbery when Valjean and Cosette have run off, I think it's Melanie bright was holding the little girl/Azelma back as she'd tried to run to the thenardiers whilst Javert has them on the floor.
James Gant was pretty damn awesome. Dude's got some pipes.
I didn't like Emilie Fleming as much this time acting wise. I was sitting further away from the stage than I have before, so it may just be because I couldn't really see well.
Warming up to Carrie Hope Fletcher's Éponine a bit.
The thenardiers had gotten funnier. Ugh. A bit of humour is fine but there's no need to go ott. after the Waltz of treachery Mme T went off with the money and Thenardier screamed "hand it over you selfish old cow!"
Rob Houchen's Marius seemed to be rather pissed with Éponine in look down,
Now, Michael Colbourne. When I saw him in august, he was likeable with some good moments but also a few meh ones. In December he was better but with a few slips. Last night, however, he was Pretty Damn Awesome. Strong top notes (finally), interaction with the Amis, Marius and the people was on point, and the first verse of DYTPS gave me chills. Yeah, he's not Aaron Lazar, CJac or Thacko, but he's grown into the role a lot.
The audience were laughing at child abuse again. Great (!)
Christian Edwards looked a bit odd but I couldn't figure out why until I was looking at my stagedoor pics on the way home; he was clean shaven.
As James Gant was on, Jordan Lee Davies was on as Courfeyrac. Jonny Purchase wasn't there either, so Ethan Bradshaw was Combeferre.
There was something about Celinde Schoenmaker's performance yesterday that made me tear up a bit. Best Fantine I've seen of her's.
Still don't like Adam Linstead's bishop voice.
One Day More was a wall of sound.

Act 2-
I missed the first few seconds because loads of people in front were still standing up.
Rob Houchen still wasn't fooled by Éponine's costume. Ditto with Valjean.
Lockyer put emphases on 'love me as well' and 'harder to die'. His face then was pretty priceless, it was sort of "for god's sake Pontmercy"
On my own was alright. Nothing too special. I like Carrie hope Fletcher's voice though.
Barricade set is still the coolest thing ever.
Gavroche was such a little shit. I loved him.
When Javert was caught, his facial expression basically read "well. Shit. Foiled by a thirteen hear old. Fuckin' perfect"
I didn't get the UST vibes from Valjean and Javert this time round.
I actually cried properly at A Little Fall of Rain yesterday. I don't think I've had full waterworks for this scene ever before. Afterwards Gav ran away and cried, as did Marius. Though Marius got a hug and some comfort from the Breakfast Club, whereas Gav was up on the barricade by himself.
Drink With Me featured the first e/R hug I've seen this cast. It was brief but it was there. I find it funny how the audience always laughs when Grantaire begins his verse as they think it's going to be funny. That's happened pretty much every time I've seen the show.
Valjean did a rather large start at hearing cosette's name. AUGH but it was so *sad*!
I think some of the audience got a bit plastered because after drink with me in the really quiet bit before bring him home some people (in the premium seats may I mention) whooped REALLY loudly and made a lot of noise.
Lockyer went a little bit flat at the end of bring him home. You can't really hear it on my audio though, and I don't blame him because that song is really hard. It's so high that I, with my squeaky little afab vocal cords, can sing it.
Gavroche died a little awkwardly, it was really obvious that he was consciously making himself fall. But other than that, tears.
I swear to god Marius and Enjolras were doing a mix of feeling each other up and trying to attack each other in the ammunition but.
Final Battle would have been a lot more epic if the sound guys hadn't cut Colbourne's mic in the middle of what could have been a really great "FREE!".
I *think* I could hear Grantaire yelling enjolras' name as the latter was shot, and Grantaire tried to pull him back over to the amis' side. In doing so he got shot himself. Man, I don't even ship that and it hurt.
Waterworks came back. Again. Gant!vert was *really* pissed he couldn't open the sewer door.
Dog eats dog was a bit...for want of a better word, camp.
Hooooollly crap Javerts Soliloquy. Nailed it.
Turning and Empty Chairs were suitably heart wrenching. Latter had me in tears. Again. That happened a lot yesterday actually.
The rest of the show went as expected, though I really let myself appreciate the harmonies in the epilogue. Ahhhhhhh.

Stage door-
I wanted to see to Carrie hope fletcher because I'd actually seen her the day before at a book signing in Lakeside and wanted to thank her for signing two books instead of one, but a crowd of her fans literally pushed me out the way (and into a post. Ow.) so I didn't get to. Whilst this was happening Emilie and Celinde walked straight past me. Yeah, that pissed me off a bit.
Just managed to catch Bradley Jaden and congratulated him on his promotion to Enjolras for next cast.
Got a picture with James Gant and his signature and I told him how much I enjoyed his performance. Same with Lockyer, Colbourne, Houchen and Edwards.
Managed to impress Jordan Lee Davies by pronouncing Courfeyrac with apparent ease.
Fra Fee was at the show yesterday and I saw him at stage door. I went and said hi and got a picture with him too.
Got the two thenardiers on their way out, and I saw Gavroche (whose name I don't know because I didn't check. Arrrgh) and told him 'well done'
I'm the one to shout "Down with Polignac!"

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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby Acaila » Sat May 30, 2015 8:00 pm

What's this about John Caird visiting set?

(also boo hiss for you not liking Bishopstead's voice :P)
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Re: Phan's Review of the London Cast, 25/8/14

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Sat May 30, 2015 11:17 pm

Some of the cast and the official twitter have mentioned him coming in to run over some 30th anniversary stuff. Gimme a mo, I'll go and find some links!

I swear he puts on a voice for Bish tho, I don't think it sounds like his singing in other roles. I've become rather fond of his R, I will say.

On the subject of Grantaire, listening to my audio reminded me that Edwards was sobbing after the barricade turned round. (Which made me think of joe spieldenner)
Listening to my audio also reminded me of how much I was sobbing like a baby through most of act two. -_-
I'm the one to shout "Down with Polignac!"


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