Queen's Theatre, London
I enjoyed the film version of Les Misérables when I saw it earlier this year. I found it to be the most moving film since Atonement (the woman sitting next to me was in more pieces than a human jigsaw puzzle at the end - and no, not because she was sitting next to me).
The only blot on the copybook was the overcooked humour involving Sacha Baron Cohen and ''dial-a-nutty-woman-character'' Helena Bonham Carter, which spoiled the mood somewhat (I understand the need for comic relief but I also understand the need for a modicum of subtlety).
I was interested in comparing the film to the theatre version and took the first opportunity that arose to make the necessary arrangements.
The Queen's Theatre was packed out. Glancing around, it was clear to see the international appeal. There were French people to the left of me, Chinese to the right and Japanese in front.
The play lasts for three hours (including the 15-minute interval) but the time flies by. The cast is universally excellent (incidentally, erstwhile Dorothy Danielle Hope plays Eponine). What is achieved on the stage in terms of both visual spectacle and emotional punch is nothing short of remarkable.
In comparison with the film, the comic relief characters are, thankfully, numerous shades more on the subtle side. For purists, the singing is generally of a higher standard too. Naturally, the film has it's own share of advantages (the Samantha Barks version of On My Own - sung in the pouring rain - is a world beating performance by anyone's standards).
Les Misérables definitely lives up to expectations. Now in its 28th year, ''The world's longest running musical'' thoroughly deserves its ongoing success.
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