Monday 30 September 2019

Theatre Review: Les Miserables - The Staged Concert

les-miserables, the-writing-greyhound

While the Queen's Theatre, the West End home of Les Miserables, undergoes renovation work, the show has moved a few doors down Shaftesbury Avenue for a limited 16-week run at the Gielgud Theatre.

Billed as an all-star staged concert, this short run brings together some of the biggest and most noteworthy names who have been associated with the show over the years. However, it's not all massively successful stars, as some new names and potential stars of tomorrow have also joined the cast for these unique performances in the intimate surroundings of the Gielgud.

I'd been looking forward to seeing this show for months, but did it manage to live up to my expectations?

As soon as the staged concert was announced earlier this year, I couldn't wait to get tickets. Les Mis has been my favourite show for years and this was the third time I've seen a live production. If you're interested, you can read my review of the last time I saw Les Mis here.

We took care when choosing tickets to pick one of Alfie Boe's scheduled performances. Boe is sharing the lead role of Jean Valjean with John Owen-Jones, but I have wanted to see Alfie Boe perform this role since I saw the 25th-anniversary concert streamed live at my local cinema.

In my opinion, Alfie Boe is perfect for this role, and I feel incredibly lucky to have finally had the opportunity to see him as Valjean. Boe brings so much depth and raw emotion to the role - during the performance, he is Jean Valjean. In addition, his incredible voice is so powerful that he easily outshone everyone else on that stage; a remarkable achievement when you consider some of the other big names in the cast.

Playing opposite Alfie Boe's Valjean is Michael Ball as Inspector Javert. I did have a few misgivings about whether Michael Ball would suit the role of Javert, but he soon chased away any lingering doubts in my mind and gave a stunning performance.

I had previously seen Carrie Hope Fletcher in the role of Eponine, but in this performance, she plays Fantine. She gave an expressive performance filled with emotions and I think she really came into her own in this role.

Rounding off the stand-out performances of the evening were Matt Lucas and Katy Secombe as the Thenardiers. Both are veterans to their respective roles, yet each continues to bring expertly-timed humour to the production. They also work brilliantly together, bouncing comedy off one another throughout the show.

However, it's not just the stars that manage to steal the show. The staging was simple yet incredibly effective, placing the greatest emphasis on the music and the songs which have captivated audiences around the world for decades. The orchestra was amazing; I particularly enjoyed the poignant oboe solo following the battle atop the barricade.

The staged concert is based on the version of the production that was used for the 25th-anniversary concert - the very first time I saw Les Miserables. Seeing this version of the production, along with some of the same cast members who performed in the concert (notably Alfie Boe and Matt Lucas) feels like I've come full circle. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to witness this truly incredible experience of a story that will never grow old.

I loved every minute of Les Miserables: The Staged Concert, and I look forward to seeing what the next chapter will hold for this brilliant musical when it returns to the Sondheim (the Queen's Theatre is due to be renamed following the completion of its renovations) at the end of the year. Vive Les Miserables!

Are you a fan of Les Miserables? Have you seen the show? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I've never seen Les Miserables, but your enthusiasm has made me a bit more curious. It sounds like a wonderful performance. #MMBC

    1. If you do get the opportunity to see it in the future, I can't recommend it enough!

  2. Hi, Is there a difference between the normal stage show and the stage concert? If so, what are the differences?

    1. Both tell the same story but this version is more like a concert than the standard West End musical. It's similar to the 25th anniversary concert if you've seen that!