For my 20th birthday, my friend Becky got us two tickets to go see any musical I’d fancy… and of course, what else but another expedition to the Queen’s Theatre to climb the barricades again?! So there we went on August 30th, on my second-to-last day before leaving London this summer. That was my last night in this city of my heart and I couldn’t dream of a better way to spend it.
Les Mis had a new cast and I was so curious – though somehow scared too – to see how they’d taken over…
Below, you’ll find my reactions to the cast changes that concern the main characters (i.e. PETER LOCKYER in the role of Jean Valjean/DAVID THAXTON in the role of Javert/CELINDE SCHOENMAKER in the role of Fantine/EMILIE FLEMING in the role of Cosette/CARRIE HOPE FLETCHER in the role of Eponine/TOM EDDEN & WENDY FERGUSON in the role of Les Thénardier/ROB HOUCHEN in the role of Marius/MICHAEL COLBOURNE in the role of Enjolras).
Before you start reading my impressions, I just want to make myself clear and tell you that these are only personal reactions and opinions. I’ve got nothing against anyone – I loved the show and this article only aims at sharing my comparison (if comparison is possible) between the two different casts I was lucky enough to watch perform! You may agree or disagree with what you’re about to read, and I would actually love to know your opinion on the subject if you like to share – but if there’s only one thing I’m asking for on this blog is respect :).
Thanks in advance and I hope you enjoy the post! Xo
Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, but also of passion, sacrifice and redemption. It’s a timeless testament to the endurance of the human spirit. At the end of the day, you may shed a tear (or 50) but always remember, a little fall of rain can hardly hurt you now…
PETER LOCKYER in the role of Jean Valjean
Geronimo Rauch was an incredible Jean Valjean. I had really liked his performance, the way he interpreted the character – so powerfully. But the new one (Peter Lockyer) is in my opinion a better Jean Valjean. Not only does he possess the powerful side of the character in his voice and acting but he also has this sweetness in his performance that is as far as I’m concerned indispensable to the character of Jean Valjean.
DAVID THAXTON in the role of Javert
David Thaxton is a great new Javert – don’t get me wrong! But Tam Mutu WAS Javert. He had perfectly understood and mastered all of the characteristics of the character – from the most obvious ones to the tiniest. David is very good in this role but I kind of preferred Tam’s Javert, which appeared more intransigent than David’s.
CELINDE SCHOENMAKER in the role of Fantine
Celinde is the only one I saw in the role of Fantine, since she came back from Holland (after having finished Love Story) and she’s still – if not more – mind-glowingly brilliant than before! She’s a very great Fantine and she even seems to have gained some confidence! It was so good to see her perform back on this stage of the Queen’s Theatre… it simply and beautifully reminded me of some of the most wonderful and magical moments of my life ♥!
Plus, I got to see her and have a little chat with her outside stage door. Just want to open a little parenthesis here because I need to say that Les Mis has THE MOST WELCOMING stage door ever! She’s lovely as you can imagine she is and such a fashionista too ^^! In short, she’s perfect and now she’s met her e-interviewer! ^^
CARRIE HOPE FLETCHER in the role of Eponine
Now concerning Eponine… Ah Eponine! Danielle Hope was fantastic in this role and actually one of the performers who had touched me the most when I saw the musical the first two times!
Eponine is my favourite character in the story of Les Misérables and the one I can identify the best with… so the artist who takes over the role had better be REALLY REALLY GOOD! The one who’s been embodying Eponine since June 2013 is no one but the so very incredibly talented Carrie Hope Fletcher and she’s been doing a wonderful job so far!
It’s impossible for me to tell you who I preferred – Danielle or Carrie – because both of them interpreted the character of Eponine very differently. The feeling I got is that Carrie’s Eponine seems stronger than Danielle’s, who maybe was more sentimental. I don’t know… that only is my point of view – how I felt it. So I can’t choose between them both; I can only say HATS’ OFF to the two of them :)!
TOM EDDEN & WENDY FERGUSON in the role of Les Thénardier
Let’s talk about some of the funniest characters ever… Les Thénardiers! Tom Edden and Wendy Ferguson took over perhaps two of the most difficult roles of the musical. The role of Les Thénardiers is basically – and to me – a ‘you sink or you swim’ role (either you get it right or you don’t and therefore it’s either a triumph or a big fat failure!). The challenge was more than successfully taken up – Tom who adds a little ‘fair enough’ in the middle of ‘The Robbery’ is just brilliant and gives that something special to the show and to the character that will make you burst out laughing every time!
In short, the duo is perfectly brilliant and I hope they’ll be on this stage for another while!
ROB HOUCHEN in the role of Marius
Ah Marius!!!! I was so sceptical – scared even – to see Rob take over this role. Not because Marius is my favourite character (Eponine is! ^^) but because you know the previous Marius was Jamie Ward and that Jamie… is Jamie! And there’s just no one like him :) I had absolutely adored his performance both times I saw him on the Queen’s Theatre’s stage! His sweetly powerful voice made flowers grow in my heart… so I was slightly scared of seeing someone else in the role of Marius.
Rob Houchen is uncontestably very talented… My friend Becky was so funny when she tried to reassure me saying ‘you’ll see, Marie, Rob is amazing! He really is great and perhaps one of the best Marius ever’. I answered I’d see :) … I wanted to believe her with all my heart and I absolutely agree to say that Rob is a great Marius BUT he’s not Jamie and I didn’t really enjoy his performance as much as I enjoyed Jamie’s.
Careful though! I’m not saying Rob’s performance wasn’t good – it was amazing! But to me (and maybe only to me, I don’t know…) there was something missing… A very little something though… but something anyway.
EMILIE FLEMING in the role of Cosette
Samantha Dorsey was a fantastic Cosette so Emilie Fleming had very big shoes to fill! But she does a pretty great job. She’s a very talented actress and singer but my preference still goes to Samantha’s performance!
MICHAEL COLBOURNE in the role of Enjolras
Concerning Enjolras, Michael Colbourne is a great artist and he wonderfully and powerfully took over the role! He’s surely one of the best Enjolras the West End has ever known!
To conclude, let me just wish a very belated happy 29th birthday to my favourite musical! I truly can’t wait until next year to celebrate its big 30 when I’m in London!