Review: Les Miserables @ The Queens Theatre

The title to this post is a little misleading due to the fact the theatre in the West End where Les Miserables is performed has the same name as my local theatre- it seems the Queen has a lot of theatres! I have been lucky enough to see Les Miserabes in London but today however, I am writing about the one being performed in Barnstaple; which has been of just as high a standard.

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As you can see from the blue, white and red lighting used, Barnstaple Young Generations School Edition of Les Miserables just screams Vive La France. Honestly, I don't have enough adjectives in my vocabulary to describe just how much I enjoyed this performance, a performance that both my parents and I can not fault.

Set in 19th Century France, the show tells the story of ex-convict Jean Val Jean as he breaks parole and cares for a late factory workers daughter in an act of redemption. The story also follows the lives of several others and you witness the loss and passion of those involved in the French Uprising. Without giving too much away, I will say is that if you stood outside once the performance had come to an end you would witness a large amount of audience members emerging as they wipe tears from their faces. After watching the film for the first time I sobbed for hours on end and this performance does that justice. There are certainly no happy endings.

I'm sure many of you have heard the saying that "there are no small parts, just small actors" and that couldn't apply more to a performance than it did to Les Mis. Everyone on stage, whether it was Jean Val Jean himself or a member of the chorus, gave there absolute everything. Even if the dialogue or action wasn't focused on them, everyone remained in character for the duration. I think that's what made it more emotional; the fact that it all seemed so real.

The musical numbers were accompanied with an on-stage orchestra situated behind a screen which gave the music a certain depth to it. This was complemented by the fact that this was one of the strongest performances vocally that I have seen to date. This was especially highlighted through the numbers where the whole cast was involved. I'm not a musical genius in any way but even I could identify that those harmonies were worth getting goosebumps over. Both Jean Val Jean and Fantine had equally strong voices and had incredible stage presence to match.

I could probably write a whole blog post on just how well each of the characters performed, and saying that I could more than likely write TWO on Fantine. I could tell just by looking at peoples faces that her acting had completely moved several audience members as she yearned for freedom. I had the pleasure of commentary all the way through the show from a very loud lady behind me, but even she was speechless as I Dreamed A Dream was sang with so much emotion. Her pain was conveyed completely through both her words and the look in her eyes.
Both Gavroche and Young Cosette, the two younger principal characters, proved that you don't need to be of a certain age to perform well. Thénardier and Madame Thénardier also stood out to me, and had plenty of people laughing to themselves (myself included).

Full of wickedly quick costume changes, dramatic lighting, and a fully turning barricade, BYG's take on such a well-known show wouldn't be out of place on a West End Stage. If you wish to get tickets for the remaining show this evening I would do so quickly as if it is anything like last nights show they are on high demand. You can get them from the North Devon Theatres website and you too can Dream the Dream of Les Miserables.


  1. I love Les Mis, such a great show!

    Meme xx

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    1. Definitely, it's one of the best.

      K xx