Les Misérables is the longest running musical in the West End and many people’s favourite show, so its arrival at Milton Keynes Theatre has been seen as the highlight of the theatre’s 20th year.
Expectations from the sell-out audiences are very high but this show really does delivers an ‘experience’ which will stay with you.
The touring production of the show is the ’25th anniversary’ version of the show which is due to replace the original version in the West End this December and inspired the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne.
The famous revolving stage has been replaced with smooth scene changes and animated backdrops inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with some very clever visual effects and lighting recreating the grimy underbelly of 19th century Paris.
The show is based on Victor Hugo’s novel of 1862 which tells the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant who stole a loaf of bread and ended up being imprisoned for 19 years before rebuilding his life by jumping parole but he’s hunted down by the policeman Javert.
This is all set against the backdrop of revolutionary France as a group of young idealists attempt to overthrow the government at a street barricade.
If the story wasn’t powerful and emotionally devastating in itself, it’s told with the moving music of Claude-Michel Shönberg and writer Alain Boublil, with songs including One Day More, I Dreamed a Dream and Do You Hear the People Sing? performed with a live orchestra.
The show has been refined and perfected over the years to the point where there’s not much room for improvement. Every performer has been brilliantly cast and while their names may not be familiar, they deliver a powerful performance which will satisfy the highest expectations.
In the lead role of Jean Valjean is Killian Donnelly who has a long history of being involved with the show since joining the company in 2008 and played Combeferre in the 2012 movie of the show. He is the iconic Valjean with a bold but emotive portrayal and a strong voice. Alongside him, Nic Greenshields is a worthy adversary giving an equally powerful performance as his nemesis Javert.
There are also outstanding performances from Tegan Bannister as Eponnine who steals the show with her portrayal of unrequited love and Katie Hall as the tragic Fantine. Special mention should also go to Martin Ball as Thenardier and Sophie Louise Dann as his wife who provide some much needed comic relief.
This is a rare opportunity to see one of the world’s best musicals in a production which delivers true West End quality on your doorstep and it’s unsurprising that many of the weekend performances have already sold out. This really is one not to miss.
Best Availability Monday to Thursday performances. Call the theatre’s dedicated Les Misérables booking line on 01908 547669 (open Monday to Saturday, 12 – 6pm) or visit https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/les-miserables/milton-keynes-theatre/ Check daily for returns and last minute ticket releases.