Review: Les Misérables School Edition at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre
- The Heath Performing Arts Academy in Association with LIPA 4:19 presents Les Misérables School Edition
- Norther Quota reporter Jess Stoddard reviews the award winning musical
Now, Les Misérables is a musical very close to my heart, after performing in two productions of the musical, I think I know all the words to all parts backwards. It’s a musical that I do enjoy watching too, as it’s so interesting to see the different ways that companies produce the iconic scenes like the barricade, the war and the chain gang.
Being one of the world’s most iconic and longest-running musicals, Les Misérables tells the story of Jean Valjean, a former convict who spends a lifetime seeking redemption. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France and the aftermath of the French Revolution, this timeless story of intertwined destinies reveals the power of compassion and the quiet evil of indifference to human suffering. As Valjean’s quest for a new life carries him into Paris and to the barricades of the Student Revolution, he is hunted by Inspector Javert and the ghosts of his past. Amidst a battle for the soul of Paris, he discovers the true meaning of love and salvation.
Now I have to mention, the cast of this production were aged 4-19 years old, and wow, they didn’t let their age get in the way of performing this masterpiece of a musical. Not only did the cast embrace the challenge whole-heartedly, they excelled; shining like stars in roles beyond their years.
Will Callan delivered a truthful, powerful performance in the role of Jean Valjean with such intensity and emotion that showcased an abundance of talent. His performance of Bring Him Home was especially moving – I did shed a tear at his tone and raw emotion in this moment.
I have to applaud the wonderful Alix Hushin, who played the dominating Inspector Javert. Her performance was sublime, and I was worried she would not hit some of the more demanding notes in her Soliloquy and Stars, but she perfectly hit the nail on the head. She commanded the stage and made her manly presence known.
With the classic songs such as On My Own, A Heart Full of Love, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables and I Dreamed A Dream being sung perfectly by the principals, the cast was well chosen for these demanding songs.
I especially loved the ensemble numbers, with the choral singing in One Day More, Master of the House and Finale being so moving and note perfect. The group sound was so rich and full over the live orchestra, conducted by Chris Bastock.
The set was incredible, especially the barricade. The scene of the revolution war was wonderfully directed by Kate Allerston. The battle was dramatic and you felt like you were a part of the action with the characters.
I was very impressed with this production, and I have to say, keep an eye out for the performers, they will be on the West End stage next!