Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review of Les Misérables at Paramount Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Les Misérables. It was by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. It was based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The English adaptation is by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. It was directed by Jim Corti and the music director was Tom Vendafreddo. It was about this man named Jean Valjean (Robert Wilde) who had been a prisoner for a very long time because he stole a loaf of bread to feed his sister's child--which of course is a terrible crime, to try to feed a starving child! Once he gets out of jail he pretends that he hasn't been a prisoner and he becomes mayor and then he meets this woman Fantine (Hannah Corneau) who has been kicked out of her workplace and had to give away her child Cosette (Nicole Scimeca) to these crazy inkeepers (George Keating and Marya Grandy) and has just become a prostitute a few seconds ago. And there is a police officer named Javert (Rod Thomas) who is looking for Jean Valjean and he is a very strict police officer and he is trying to capture Jean Valjean throughout the entire show. Jean Valjean adopts Cosette, then once Cosette (Erica Stephan) grows up, she becomes a beautiful stylish woman and she falls in love with a man Marius (Devin De Santis) who is in the rebellion against the police officers. And there is also a girl named Eponine (Lillie Cummings) who is really good friends with Marius but she is in love with him but he is not in love with her because he met Cosette. I think this show is about rebellion, love, poverty, and forgiveness. I thought that this was a great and interesting show. I liked it a lot.

The scene at the barricade (violence design by R & D Choreography) was very loud and very scary because people were dying all around and you wanted to get up there and help them even though you couldn't. Then, one of the saddest songs in the entire show happens at the barricade, which is when Eponine is shot in the head by a police officer. That was one of the first times I cried in the show. The song is called "A Little Fall of Rain" and she sings it with Marius. It was super sad because that is when Marius actually finds out her true feelings for him. And if she didn't die, it would have been really awkward because she just told him her secret. Eponine is one of my favorite characters because she is not like a beauty queen who everyone falls in love with her and she has long luscious hair. She is just a regular poor girl who is in love with a man who is totally "out of her league." I think she should tell him she's in love with him before she is about to die because even if he isn't in love with her, she should just find a way to move on. Anyway, he doesn't seem like the best guy in the world because he makes fun of her. She makes it obvious that she likes him but he doesn't seem to notice or he just wants to make her realize he likes another girl so he basically makes Eponine be their matchmaker. I would definitely not do that for any of my friends if I liked them!

I think the song "Stars" that was sung by Javert was very sad and also very awesome. He was walking up these stairs the entire time and their was a spotlight on him, and once he got to the top, there was a dead end. And then he sang for a little bit more right at the dead end. And then he jumped off, but it was basically like jumping off of an apartment building. You saw him fall and everyone gasped and it was just mind-blowing and I loved it. I think that the set (designed by Kevin Depinet and Jeffrey D. Kmiec) was really awesome because it had this big twisty stairway and there were two sides and there was a gate on one side and when you walked through the gate there was an inside part too. I think Rod Thomas did a great job at being very unkind but then you also feel sorry for him in this song because he was just doing his job so we shouldn't be mad. Javert doesn't seem like a very happy person because all he basically does is tell people if they are right or wrong. That must be a pretty sad life, because I don't really like to make mean comments or to criticize, and to do that as your living...I just wouldn't be happy. (I just realized how ironic that is, since I'm a critic. But I try to be a nice critic!)

This play is sad most of the time, but then there are some funny scenes. There are these terrible, frighting funny people who are the innkeepers, the Thénardiers, that Fantine leaves Cosette with. They are scary because of how horrible they are; they don't seem nice at all. They basically just steal stuff from people's dead bodies! They are funny because of how absurd they are. They just make such bad and strange decisions. The song "Master of the House" was like their introductory song about who they are. I thought it was very catchy but it was also very silly because who would just steal shoes and a coat out of a bag and just be like "Ha ha! I'm going to make so much money off these shoes." And so many people liked him, which I didn't see how that was possible because he was so evil. His wife was the more sane one, and I don't understand how she deals with him acting so sexy to the other ladies. She expresses all this in the part where she is going on about how he thinks he is a lover and philosopher but then he just turns out to be a jerk to his wife and to everyone. The part that made me crack up the most was when he said, "Everybody raise a glass" and she said, "Raise it up the Master's ass" because it just shows how much she actually despises him.

People who would like this show are people who like crazy innkeepers, awesome stunt falls, and barricades. I wish I had seen this earlier in the run so then you could have seen it before it closed, but I had to see it closing weekend! If it is ever remounted, definitely definitely go see it.

Photos: Charles Osgood

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