Review: Les Misérables, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Since Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Les Misérables came into being during the show’s 25th anniversary in 2009, the musical has taken the world by storm. It’s current UK tour, inspired the hugely successful movie version with new staging hand scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. arrived at Wales Millennium Centre this week.

A story of reinvention and forgiveness, the musical follows the life of Jean Valjean, who as a young man is freed from prison by Javert, only to break parole and reinvent his life after stealing silver from a Church. As Jean’s life progresses, he meets Fantine and takes in her daughter while being pursued by Javert.

The Barricade from Les Miserables

Dean Chisnall brings much in the way of depth to his portrayal of Jean Valjeanas as the musical follows his lifelong journey. Chisnall’s portrayal allows the audience to identify with him, whilst sharing a varied range of emotion and scenarios.

As Nic Greenshields commands attention and stage presence as the domineering Javert, it’s down to Ian Hughes as Thénardier and Helen Walsh as Madame Thénardier to provide some light relief in their segments including Master Of The House.

Nic Greenshields in Les Miserables

Two of my favourite songs from the show, I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own are performed completely stripped back, allowing Katie Hall as Fantine and Frances Mayli McCann as Ēponine to captivate their audience with their voices alone

Vocal performances continue to astound with powerful imagery as Felix Moss’ Marius sings Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. Mourning the loss of his friends during the French Revolution, simple staging allows the audience to investigate Marius mind as the lost friends appear towards the songs climax.

Katie Hall in Les Miserables

Of course, Les Misérables is also very much an ensemble show, with the casts performance of Do You Hear the People Sing? and One Day More being particularly outstanding.  The spectacular set and effective lighting design add further to their amazing performance. While the movingly performed barricade, scene didn’t leave a dry eye in the house, especially Noah Walton’s dramatic and moving performance as a young boy caught up in the battle.

Embraced as Les Mis for the 21st century, this is one show not to be missed, I loved it and can’t wait to see it again in the future.

  • Les Misérables runs at Wales Millennium Centre from November 26, 2019 to January 4, 2020.