So Hayden Tee
will be playing Javert
until 22nd of April. I saw him a few times when the show was in Sydney and I remember thinking he was good, but that was more of an overall impression that any particular thing he did. (TBH back then I was more interested in the Enjolras and the barricade boys so I wasn't looking for anything particular with Javert to begin with, and I didn't go in with expectation since I thought for me no one could surpass Quast).
is probably the best word...and not exactly in a good way. I don't know if anyone here has seen him both in Australia and in London to compare them, but it was not what I was expected. I feel like if he was like this is Australia it would've stood out, but I can't trust my memory on this. From the first scene, he plays Javert extremely smug - he's outright smirking when JVJ is brought to him. I usually hate it when Javert gets described as 'sadistic', but if that was based off Hayden's portrayal I can almost understand it.
When he walks on for his next scene (Fantine's Arrest), I can only describe what he's doing as sashaying...or as close to sashaying as you can imagine Javert doing. It felt overly casual given the circumstances, and he sort of keeps it casual for the rest of the scene...until JVJ orders Fantine be brought to the hospital, and it's like all his anger just bursts out at once
"...but MONSIEUR MAYOR!
". Confrontation was slightly out-of-sync, which I thought was unusual given how many times they would've done this, but it's been a while since they've partnered with each other, so probably just taking time to get back into rhythm.
His walk-on in Javert's Intervention was much like that in Fantine's Arrest, and I just couldn't help smiling at it. I think by this point it had sort of grown on me a little bit. (The whole scene was derailed somewhat by Adam Pearce's OTT Thenardier.) Stars sounded pretty much how it did on Oz/Broadway bootlegs. Hayden does this thing where he moves his shoulders up and down along with the music, and again I can't remember if that happened in Oz. I found it kind of distracting, but otherwise no complaints.
[Oh, apparently he managed to split the trousers of his costume on the barricade - twice
- in his first week, so during Act 2 I was always vaguely worried it'll happen again (surely that would undermine the drama
) but thankfully no wardrobe malfunctions (this time).]
His portrayal in Act 2 had a lot of little 'moments' that I just...didn't like. For instance, the scene with the sniper - I know (pretty sure it was a discussion here?) that the stage instruction says JVJ kills the sniper (and the movie leaves no ambiguity), but since it's not shown on stage I prefer to interpret it as JVJ shooting to scare or to wound, because JVJ killing someone (in any situation where he doesn't absolutely have to) is just not something I can accept. But here Hayden yells 'no!' when that happens, and then gives JVJ a hateful look, which implies much more strongly that it was a shot that killed (not 100% but still...).
During Suicide, he lets down the hair and it's all wild and uncontrolled. He doesn't hold the final note for very long, and I wonder if he's still figuring out the exact staging of how to 'fall'. As it is, he raises both arms and disappears very quickly into the darkness. In the other staging (iirc) it relies on the background projections to simulate the fall, whereas in London it relies a lot more on the actor's movements (there's still lighting effects, but that can't really convey distance), both can be equally effective if done right. Here, it's not quite right.
Sheesh, rambling here. I hope to go back again towards the end of his run and see if things have changed. I mean, he's played the role for a few years now, so I don't think he'd be changing much in terms of character interpretation (I expect the smirking to stay) but then you never know.