London Cast 2017

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Olivia_y
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:39 pm

Acaila wrote:I hope JonnyBonBon stays on though

Who knows, maybe they'll make him principal Enjolras :D (in which case I really hope he gets a better wig).
(I get the feeling Chris Cowley's not really in it for the long haul...)

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Olivia_y
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:13 pm

I can't say I usually pay that much attention to actors playing the Thenardiers, mostly because they're very broad characters and most of the time the performers sort of...blend into one another. I tend to only notice - and not in a good way - if they're trying too hard to be 'funny' (a major complaint I had with the Thenardiers of the Australian production was that they didn't seem remotely threatening).

David Langham and Katy Secombe each sort of lean a bit on either side of the funny/threatening line respectively. I honestly can't tell if Katy is tired of the character (apparently she's played in the past as well?) or if the character is meant to come across as 'fed up', either way the undercurrent of discontent comes through strong. She also yells a lot of the lines, which can be quite abrasive (even for this character!).

As for David, he has a...unique...looking face, which I can only say is quite perfect for a character like Thenardier (obviously the makeup exaggerates this). His physical movements are very exaggerated (even more so given his height and lankiness) and he always manages to get a laugh just by walking into the scene for 'Master of the House'. I think every actor for this role tries to put in their own 'funny' line, during 'Waltz of Treachery' when Valjean says 'come Cosette, say goodbye', David gives a very dry 'bye' while waving (and not taking his eyes off the money). I think the only complaint I have is that he breaks the 4th wall too often (e.g. offering the bottle of piss to audience members).

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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby 23623 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:45 am

One thing that I really love about movie Thenardiers is how they always get Cosette's name wrong. They call her "Colette" or something like that. I think I've seen it done on stage once but can't remember what production it is.

Also I think (I'm not so sure, been a long time :oops: ) I've seen a video in which M. Thenardier seems to be thinking about having sex with his wife after they get the money. But really, I'm not sure if this is actually the case. Could be my memory mixing it up with something totally else or just me having a dirty mind at that time... :oops: :oops:
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Acaila
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Acaila » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:12 pm

Colette is pretty common - it's been in the London production for yeeeeeeeears. Courgette is just the movie.
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:34 pm

Acaila wrote:Colette is pretty common - it's been in the London production for yeeeeeeeears. Courgette is just the movie.

That line usually guarantees a laugh. I think the movie milked it too much though.

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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby deHavilland » Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:57 pm

23623 wrote:Also I think (I'm not so sure, been a long time :oops: ) I've seen a video in which M. Thenardier seems to be thinking about having sex with his wife after they get the money. But really, I'm not sure if this is actually the case. Could be my memory mixing it up with something totally else or just me having a dirty mind at that time... :oops: :oops:


Cliffy went really heavy handed with this in the Toronto/Broadway Revival productions. He got really grabby-hands with his Thenardiess and it was pretty obvious they were gonna go roll around on the money as soon as they got offstage. That might have been the video you're thinking of. (Since there's numerous videos of Cliff Saunders as Thenardier.)
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby 23623 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:03 am

@Acaila: Ooh man...I'm really really way behind with London productions. Thanks for correcting me!

@Havvy: Don't have my laptop at the moment so can't check, but thank you for the information! To be honest I always find the random sexual undertones in the show a bit...disgusting, even if they involve disgusting characters like the Thenardiers. I also remember several Rs doing...that thing you know...in Red and Black, which annoys me to no end. I'm like :roll: :x every time I see this.
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Acaila » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:23 am

Oh bottle penis amuses me I must confess. Similarly it was weird to have to try to block the Foreman in ATEOTD in a PG fashion this week!

Olivia - I totally agree. Colette makes me giggle, Courgette just rubbed me up the wrong way.
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:57 pm

How do you solve a problem like Marius?

For male roles of that age range, Enjolras may get some big moments but Marius has a major solo number plus a few duets, so surely there should be competition for that role? So how come so many Mariuses have been so wanting? Even as far back as the OBC it feels like Marius is the weakest of the cast (sorry if anyone liked David Bryant). I haven't seen the Broadway revival but consensus seems to be he's pretty poor. And as I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum I found both Craig Mather (pervious London Marius) and Euan Doidge (Australian cast) very underwhelming.

So relative to that (and trying not to think about how much I liked Jonny Purhcase in that role) Paul Wilkins is an improvement. At least he's not overly sappy all the time. He does get very weepy during ALFoR and DWM but that's forgivable, in fact I was rather impressed he could actually cry on cue (or at least he could that one time I was in the front row :lol: ) The thing is there's nothing particularly memorable about him, at this point I'm starting to think maybe it's just this role that's hard to make memorable.

During IML, I get the feeling he's trying to be awkward (which is kind of a weird thing to witness) but coming off not awkward...if that even makes sense. I think it's the same issue I had with Charlotte's Cosette - actual and voice don't match. He'd be fidgeting and acting like he doesn't quite know what to do with himself, but his singing is just too smooth to reflect that. Hopefully as time goes he can translate that into body language a bit better. HIs ECaET was fine, he sounds genuinely anguished but perhaps with more anger than sorrow, but like I said, not particularly memorable.

As for chemistry...I personally feel he had better chemistry with Hollie (Éponine) than with Charlotte, but that might be because of Charlotte's acting rather than his. In the epilogue when he's explaining the sewers incident she looks at him with this expression that looks...annoyed? Like "I'm trying to reconnect with my father here why are you still singing at me?' Most likely not what she was going for, but from my perspective that was how it appeared.

Eshk, my rambling seems to get longer with every post. I do seem to focus too much on negatives, so I should reiterate that I love this cast for the most part, and the negatives certainly haven't taken anything out of my enjoyment :lol: (obviously, why else would I keep going back?)

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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:57 pm

Acaila wrote:Oh bottle penis amuses me I must confess.

I nearly spat out my coffee at the term 'bottle penis'. :lol:

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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:03 am

I went to the show for the first time since Jeremy Secomb left, and before I talk about Hayden Tee, I'll mention that Adam Pearce was on as Thenardier for this show. I could've sworn I've seen him as Thenardier before but I don't remember disliking him this much. That funny/threatening balance? Non-existent. It's like he went to the Matt Lucas school of Thenardier-ing, just trying to milk every scene for as many laughs as possible with OTT facial expressions and gestures, and way too many spoken 'asides'.

The thing is, most of the audience seem to love that stuff, and he got heaps of laughs. If you're going someone who's seeing it for the first time and who doesn't really like the heavier content, it might be good go to a show with Adam as Thenardier. But I just didn't like it one bit. Playing for laughs in 'Master of the House' or 'Waltz of Treachery'? Fine. Doing the same during 'Attack on Rue Plumet' or 'Dog eat Dog'...NO! :x

(Side note: I know it's breaking character, but I find it sort of endearing when the actress playing little Cosette is visibly trying not to laugh during the ridiculous antics in 'Waltz'.)

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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:38 pm

On the subject of understudies, I'll also mention Lauren Soley (Éponine) and Felix Mosse (Marius). They were both performers who I didn't really rate when watching them live (not in the same show) but thought actually sounded (mostly) all right when listening to the audios afterwards. It was really another acting vs singing thing. As far as I know they're relatively new to these parts so probably haven't had a chance to get used to movements around the stage and at times that could look awkward.

Lauren has an expression that always look like she's smiling, even when I don't think she actually is. It doesn't change much through the whole show so it was a bit harder to get the emotions across. I already said I really like Hollie O'Donoghue, but I think I might prefer Lauren's OMO more. It's a lot less 'angry' and she doesn't yell any lines the way Hollie does ('the streets are FULL OF STRANGERS' :shock: ). (My personal preference is for that song to lean more towards sadness than anger, my favourite rendition is probably still Frances Ruffelle on the OLC.)

Felix is cute as button with the face of an angel, and I was really excited when they announced he'd be on as Marius, but TBH it was a bit of a let down. His voice is on the weak side - he gets overpowered easily by Charlotte, Hollie and Chris when on stage together, but for solo numbers it wasn't too bad - he delivers ECaET much more quietly than Paul does, which gives it a reflective quality. He seemed not to know what to do with his hands most of the time, and just kept them straight at his side which felt a bit unnatural, and like Lauren his facial expression didn't change much throughout. During ODM he was clearly marching out of step with the rest of the group, which surprised me given his usual role (Joly I believe) would march in the same number, so it shouldn't be new?

It's probably not fair to compare understudies to the principals given they haven't had as much of a chance to hone the characters, I think they both have potential to be good, but at this point it's hard to say much beyond that.

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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:46 pm

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).

I was...surprised 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 :shock: "...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 :lol: ) 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.

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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby 23623 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:54 am

I had typed up a draft regarding awkward solos but accidentally deleted it. Wanted to say that bad solos have become my pet peeve ever since I watched a Hamlet giving the most terrible monologues on stage (yes, it was a live performance, and it took all of my willpower to remain silent at that moment instead of bursting out "WTF??") Some actors are doing fine when they have interactions with others but once left alone they just have no idea as to what to do. Good thing that Marius only has one solo song.

Haven't watched any video of Hayden Tee, but I dislike him already from what I've heard in audios. I thought he was sort of scary...and your review confirmed my suspicion. I always prefer softer Javerts like Miguel del Arco (from 1993 Spanish cast, my second favorite Javert after Quast), while for Valjeans tough guys are my favorite. :D Occasionally I'd love to see some REALLY STERN Javerts, but overacting or taking it tooo far is definitely not acceptable.

Javert smirking = WTF. Seriously. I remember having ranted about this before. It was a German production. Javert was SMIRKING at the dead bodies after the barricade fell. It was SO wrong in so many ways and SO DAMN CREEPY.

Oh God, Valjean killing someone is the MOST ridiculous thing I've ever come across in this fandom. :evil: :evil: :evil: From the Baden production and another regional production with modern costumes ( :shock: ). I've ranted about this to everyone around me who knows Les Mis.
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Olivia_y
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Re: London Cast 2017

Postby Olivia_y » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:13 pm

More understudy reviews! (I've been very spoilt for understudies, I think I've seen at least one cover for every major role).

Simon Lynch is the 2nd cover for Marius, and honestly I think he's much better than 1st cover Felix Mosse. He looks a bit like a very young Sebastian Stan, wide-eyed and innocent - not only that, he sounds innocent, and complements Charlotte's Cosette quite well. He's also a better actor than Felix, much more natural (for once thing, he doesn't leave his hands hanging at his side). For some reason though he seems to be hunching his shoulders a lot of the time, which makes me wonder if he's trying to look shorter (he's probably the tallest of the barricade boys, and noticeably taller than Simon Gleeson).

The night I saw him he had a small blooper during the wedding scene - during that quick change right after ECaET, he must've somehow taken off the wedding jacket along with the coat, and didn't have time to put it back on. When the lights came on for the wedding you could sort of see him struggling a bit with the jacket and then finally just resorting to holding it behind his back. (He then handed it to one of the 'guests' who passed it on to an 'attendant' who then subtly threw it backstage :lol: ). He performed the rest of that scene with no jacket, very casual wedding that one.

Holly-Anne Hull is the 1st cover for Cosette (this is on a different night btw), and they must've only fitted Charlotte for the green dress because Holly-Anne did IML and AHFoL in the convent dress, which is sort of nice for nostalgic purposes. She's tiny, which makes both Simon (Valjean) and Paul(Marius) look taller than usual :lol: .

Her vocal quality sounds very different to what I've grown accustomed to with Charlotte (and Zoe before her), it's very rich (almost operatic) but she has a bit of trouble enunciating on the higher notes, which is emphasised because she also tends to raise the volume for those notes. She also sounds older than what I'd imagine Cosette to sound. Her acting in the epilogue corrects everything I didn't like about Charlotte's performance in that scene - that is, she's a lot more expressive - body-language-wise - of her love for Valjean.


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