Back to the barricade

THE world’s best-loved musical, Boublil and Schonberg’s Les Miserables, is back at Bristol Hippodrome until 6th August, in a spectacular new production with Dean Chisnall as Jean Valjean and Nic Greenshield as his nemesis, Inspector Javert.

The musical is based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel of the grim life of the poor in mid-19th century France. It is a story of courage, love, heartbreak, obsession and the resilience of the human spirit. The central character, Jean Valjean, imprisoned for 19 years for a minor theft, emerges embittered and streetwise, but finds redemption in a successful business, becoming mayor of a northern town and adopting an orphaned girl. He is trailed throughout his post-prison life by the implacable Javert.

Katie Hall plays the tragic Fantine, with Paige Blankson as her daughter Cosette, who is adopted by Valjean. Ian Hughes plays the villainous Thenardier, Helen Walsh is Mme Thenardier, Nathania Ongas is their daughter Eponine and Will Callanas is Marius, the student who falls in love with Cosette.

Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived his acclaimed production of Les Miserables in 2009, to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary, it has enjoyed record-breaking runs around the world and has been seen by more than 120 million people in 52 countries.

The new staging has received rave five-star reviews – the Telegraph said it “sends shivers of excitement racing down the spine” and the IrishTimes called it a “production of awesome power.”

 

The show includes some of the greatest songs written for the musical stage, including I Dreamed a Dream, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables and Master of The House. Some have become real-life anthems of revolution wherever in the world people are fighting for their freedom.

The season at Bristol Hippodrome is part of a national tour which ends at Cardiff’s Millennium Centre over Christmas and New Year.

Pictured: Dean Chisnall as Jean Valjean, photograph by Danny Kaan; Katie Hall as Fantine and Nic Greenshields as Javert, photographs by Matthew Murphy; on the barricade, photograph by Michael Le Poer Trench.