Monday, June 26, 2006

Les Miserables - un triomphe!

On Friday night, we finally went to see Les Miserables - one of those things I have been meaning to do ever since I arrived here all those months/years ago (like actually going to Buckingham Palace and Harrods). I was a bit concerned that it wasn't going to live up to the hype. There was a fleeting moment, soon after the curtain went up to reveal a group of men breaking up invisible rocks with invisible pick-axes, when I got that sinking feeling it was going to be a whole lot less classy than I imagined.

But I needn't have worried - it was fantastic. Apart from that one instance of miming, the rest of the production was brilliant and the singing was breath-taking (literally). Some of the songs had somehow, mysteriously filtered their way into my consciousness (Master of the House, At the End of the Day) without my ever having seen a performance before. But the best thing about it was the way each new scene looked like a glimpse into the past (even if that past did look surprisingly Dickensian for 19th Century Paris). The three hours flew by; the story was involving and dramatic, but never too complex to follow; there were a few moments of light relief to break it up a bit. By the end, I was awed that it was possible to spin such a tale, and take the audience on such a thrilling journey, in such a short space of time.

It was transporting, like good theatre should be. And it has whetted my appetite for more...

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