Review by Fiona Hart
“Do you hear the people sing?”
Well, yes I do – but I do not always hear what the (largely very talented) people are singing about. And that is the crux of my problem with the current Sydney production of this much-loved show.
Now, I love a good piece of musical theatre. I therefore forgive the overly dramatic renditions inherent in this art form, but while some songs are beautifully performed (standouts are “A Little Drop Of Rain” and “Bring Him Home”), at times even I feel the singing is a bit forced. Denying the vocal light and shade loses some of the characters’ vulnerabilities, causing a rather linear emotional journey through “I Dreamed A Dream” and “On My Own” in particular.
A more important loss in this production, however, is the narrative. As a musical entirely devoid of speech the storytelling parts of the songs are phenomenally important, but are too often rushed through.
Should you buy a ticket? It depends. Les Mis veterans who would like to be swept up in the music and the melancholy once more: yes. The heart of the show is still intact. But complete newbies: sit tight, and wait for your next trip to London. The original is still the best.
Les Misèrables is playing at the Capitol Theatre until 30th August