About the showLes Miserables, or ‘Les Mis’ as it has come to be known, is the world’s longest running musical and continues to be one of the firm favourites in London’s West End. After opening to lukewarm reviews back in 1985, audiences fell in love with the show, which went on to transfer from the Barbican to the Palace Theatre, before eventually settling at the Queen’s Theatre. Based on Victor Hugo’s epic French novel, the musical is set in Revolutionary France and follows the plight of convict Jean Valjean as he struggles to escape the law and right his wrongs, along with a colourful mix of characters drawn from the breadth of society. The show features a score by Alain Boublil with lyrics by Claude Michel Schonberg and has made classics of songs such as ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘On My Own’ and ‘Bring Him Home’ which have been covered by artists from around the world.
Despite its longevity, the musical remains fresh and exhilarating, thanks to the hugely talented cast it attracts, which in recent years has included Sierra Boggess, Danielle Hope, Alfie Boe and Ramin Karimloo. Whether you are a fan of the show already or coming to it for the first time, you will be swept away by the powerful story, stirring songs and breathtaking production. This really is a show that you will remember forever.
Who Should See It?Les Miserables is a classic musical, which features a ‘sung through’ score in a quasi operatic style. Theatre lovers and first time audiences will be engrossed in the show, as it really does include something for everyone. There are comic moments alongside battles and emotional drama – everything you would expect from a classic novel.
This show is recommended for children aged 7 above, due to its length and subject matter. Please note that children under the age of 5 years will not be admitted into the venue, and everyone will require their own ticket.
- Jean Valjean – the convict ‘24601’ who is given his ticket of leave at the beginning of the show. After a rough beginning, he manages to become a Mayor, becoming surrogate father to the young Cosette. He sings the impressive ‘Who Am I?’ soliloquy and the moving ‘Bring Him Home’ prayer on the barricades.
- Inspector Javert – Javert spends his life chasing Valjean, becoming more and more obsessed with his position and job. After he is captured on the barricades he finds some humility and realises his efforts are in vein. His songs range from the ‘Confrontation’ with Valjean to the beautiful aria ‘Stars’.
- Fantine – The mother of Cosette who is sacked from the factory for having a bastard child. She is taken into Valjean’s care before trusting him with her daughter. She sings the emotional ballad ‘I Dreamed a Dream’.
- Cosette – First seen as a child singing ‘Castle on a Cloud’, she is bought from the Thenardier’s by Valjean who continues to raise her. As a woman she falls in love with student Marius, and the pair are married after his escape from the barricade.
- Marius – Maris is a student of the ABC Café and quickly falls in love with Cosette as he sees her in Paris. He fights in the French Revolution and is injured on the barricades, saved only by the strength of Valjean. He sings ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’, before finally marrying Cosette.
- Eponine – The daughter of the treacherous Thenardier’s, Eponine grows up as a street urchin. She falls in love with student Marius, but helps facilitate his relationship with Cosette. She sings ‘On My Own’ as she struggles to be noticed, and ‘A Little Fall of Rain’ as she is killed in the fighting on the barricades.
- Thenardier’s – A gruesome couple who own a bar where they are ‘Masters of the House’. After selling Cosette to Valjean they make money by grave digging amongst the corpses of the revolution. They provide light comedic relief to the otherwise gloomy story.
- Enjolras – The leader of the student revolutionary movement. He rallies the troops at the Barricades with the inspirational ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’
- 2014 Laurence Olivier Awards: BBC Radio 2 Audience Award.
- 2012 Laurence Olivier Awards: BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Long Running Show.
- 1985 Laurence Olivier Awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Patti LuPone).
- 1987 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Michael Maguire), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Frances Ruffelle), Best Direction of a Musical, Best Scenic Design.