REVIEW: Les Mis storms the stage at Wales Millennium Centre for a rip-roaring first night

Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Les Misérables is at Wales Millennium Centre until 4th January 2020. 

The musical juggernaut that has been seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 51 countries has arrived in Cardiff with a new touring production that is every bit as spectacular as the original West End smash hit.

LES MISERABLES TOUR. Katie Hall 'Fantine'. Photo Matthew Murphy.
LES MISERABLES TOUR. Katie Hall ‘Fantine’. Photo Matthew Murphy.

From the first note to the final bow you’re captivated by the magic of this vibrant and dynamic musical masterpiece and it’s clear to see why it’s so hugely popular. 

The action doesn’t miss a beat with hit after hit telling the story of the starving poor fighting to survive against a divided upper-class and the young idealists who have revolution in their hearts. 

Dean Chisnall turns out a powerhouse performance as a wounded Jean Valjean, he sings with passion and at times tenderness with the audience in his hands every step of the way. 

LES MISERABLES TOUR. Nic Greenshields ‘Javert’. Photo Matthew Murphy.

The whole cast were faultless and it would be easy to praise each one but special mentions for Katie Hall as a suburb Fantine and Nic Greenshields puts in a stunning performance as Javert with an operatic voice filled with emotion. The comic relief comes from Helen Walsh and Ian Hughes as the repugnant innkeepers, they puncture the seriousness perfectly. 

The staging is quite simply poetic with buildings sliding in and out, smoothly leading us through the grimy streets of Paris in the 1800s with the air filled with misery and despair. 

It might all sound a bit gloomy but the overriding message of love and compassion shine through to give the story it’s enduring magic. 

The animated backdrop inspired by Victor Hugo’s own paintings are a great addition and help audiences fully realise the scene and Javert’s demise is jaw dropping. 

It’s difficult to review such an epic show which everyone knows is a musical tour de force, but there is no doubt that Les Miserables continues to be quite simply unmissable and one of the best shows you’ll ever see. 

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