Les Miserables Movie West End Cast

Since the worldwide release of Tom Hooper’s big screen adaptation of Les Miserables, much has been written about and discussed both online and in the press, and it seems like every man and his dog has an opinion. Universal praise for Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman has been solidified in both the Golden Globe Awards and Oscar Nominations, along with the awkwardness surrounding Russell Crowe’s vocal abilities, perhaps best summed up by co-star Sasha Baron Cohen’s sarcastic comments at the Golden Globe Ceremony as he told the audience that the Gladiator star had spent two solid months of vocal training, suggesting with an ironic smile that it was “money well spent”. Whatever your opinion of the film, the figures seem to speak for themselves. Les Mis is already one of the most financially successful movie musicals of all time, and has grossed well over $200million – a figure which continues to climb.

Much of the success comes from the combination of ‘the world’s most popular musical’ alongside the A-list cast that signed up to the project, breathing new life into iconic roles. Whilst many casting decisions were considered to be contentious at the time (remember we dodged a bullet with Taylor Swift…), many of the leads earned their accolades through months of hard work, shaking off the initial skepticism that surrounded them. One of the most interesting casting choices pleased Musical Theatre fans as Samantha Barks earned the role of Eponine, after playing the role in the West End. She was thankfully joined by a large number of West End professionals in many of the minor roles, inspiring us to put together a ‘Top Trumps’ style list of Musical Theatre stars who are featured in the movie, many of which have starred in the show onstage in some role. Please note, they all ‘sing live’ and continue to do so for a living, without expecting an Oscar for doing so.

 Colm Wilkinson – The Bishop of Digne

West End Star Rating: The grandfather of Les Miserables 5/5
You may remember him from: Playing the role of Jean Valjean in the 10th Anniversary ‘Dream Cast’ at the Royal Albert Hall. He originated the role in the West End and Broadway, gaining Tony and Drama Desk nominations. 5/5
Moment of glory:  Colm plays the supporting role of the Bishop who saves Valjean’s from being arrested and buys his soul for God. He makes a much needed return to the screen at the end of the film, welcoming Wolverine to heaven. His vocals alone show why he is, for many, the definitive Valjean, and he was ‘singing live’ 8 times a week before this movie was even dreamed of. He provides some excellent touching moments, guiding Hugh through the role with a rather knowing look.  4/5
‘Mizerable’ factor   Highest up the social ladder of all of our West End stars, The Bishop remains out of the slums and glums and remains positive towards Valjean and can sleep sound in the knowledge that he inspired a 3 hour epic. Remember him if you ever think about stealing a loaf of bread. 1/5

 Hannah Waddingham – Factory Woman 2

West End Star Rating: One of the current Queen’s of the West End. Pure class and star quality make for a successful West End star. 4/5
You may remember her from: Various ‘Witchy’ appearances, from Into the Woods at Regent’s Park and the green-faced villain in The Wizard of Oz.  4/5
Moment of glory:  Waddingham brings a wealth of experience to the role of Factory Woman 2, turning against Fantine for no real reason and kick starting her spiral into prostitution. She pulls off the (unnecessary and unexplained) northern accent Tom Hooper has given the French ‘underclass’ like a regular in ‘Emmerdale’. Thankfully however Hathaway doesn’t revive her northern (?) accent from ‘One Day’, leaving it to the Brits to fly the flag. 3/5 
‘Mizerable’ factor  Of all the women in the factory, Waddingham’s character must be fairly jealous of Fantine’s long flowing locks, Oscar potential and the attention she receives from the foreman as she is one of the main instigators in pushing her out. Sounds fairly miserable to me. 3/5

Kerry Ellis – Master of the House Ensemble

West End Star Rating: ‘Rock Diva’ and musical theatre extraordinaire  Ellis has been apart of too many musicals to list and has made the crossover into popular music. 5/5
You may remember her from: Being famously set up on BBC’s ‘The Voice’, as one of the most talented auditionees who didn’t make it through…Luckily for her she didn’t have to endure any more of Jesse J. A true West End professional, she is perhaps most famous for being the first Brit to take on the role of Elphaba in ‘Wicked’. 4/5
Moment of glory:  It’s hard to get noticed when you feature in the musical number that features two of the biggest scene stealers in film history, but Ellis provided much needed vocal weight to the film’s comic number, ‘Master of the House’. Some shaky camera work, a dodgy French accent and an obvious tussle for an Oscar nod meant that it is hard to pick out the gems in the deliberately dirty crowd, but if you try to ignore the randy Father Christmas, she is certainly there. 2/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  Everyone in the Inn seems to be drunk on watered down beer and stale food. Whilst they are quick to toast their landlord, I’m sure when the hangover kicks in she will more more miserable than ever before. 4/5

Clare Foster – Factory Woman 3

West End Star Rating: A belle of the West End 3/5
You may remember her from: Playing Polly in Regent’s Park’s Olivier Award Winning production of ‘Crazy For You’, and can currently be seen in The Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of ‘Merrily We Roll Along’. 3/5
Moment of glory:  Foster forms one of the gaggle of girls that turns against Hathaway in the factory and saunters towards the camera in a pack, in a much overused shot as the camera pulls away from them dramatically, yet they continue to be drawn to it. They literally bounce poor Fantine out of shot with dramatic staring and intense walking with clipped vowels and no vibrato in sight. 3/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  Whilst some may find the prospect of factory work whilst being stalked by an angry foreman a miserable experience, for some it can be the highlight of their day. This one could go either way. 2.5/5

Bertie Carvel – Bamatabois

West End Star Rating: Flavour of last month and soon to be Tony Award nominee. 4/5
You may remember him from: Mincing around the stage at the Cambridge Theatre as Miss Trunchbull in the 2011 hit musical ‘Matilda’ 4/5
Moment of glory:  Carvel does what he does best in this foppish role who acts as the final straw for Fantine in her stream of sexual abuse. As she tells him she won’t be had by a ‘rat’ she leaves her ‘mark’ on his face, resulting in Russell Crowe’s disappointing arrival as he mutters something off-key about taking her away. Carvel’s part is sadly condensed from the stage show, but is a much needed addition. 2.5/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  Whilst it may be quite miserable being the victim of assault by a prostitute, after Fantine wins the Oscar that blood could be bottled and sold on eBay for a considerable sum. Short term misery for long term happiness. 1/5

Daniel Evans – Pimp

West End Star Rating: Although he has recently migrated to Sheffield, this actor/director continues to maintain a West End presence. 2.5/5
You may remember him from: Delivering a stunning performance in the Menier’s Sunday in the Park with George that played in London and Broadway’s Studio 54 3/5
Moment of glory:  Native Welshman Evans controls the masses of whores that litter the streets waiting for the “customers who only come at night”. He encounters Hathaway pre-Britney head shave and gets her hooked on life as a Prostitute. 2.5/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  Nothing can be more miserable than having your best selling girl taken away from you by a burly mayor with not a sniff of dowry. Imagine the loss of revenue potential. 4/5

Frances Ruffelle – Whore 1

West End Star Rating: An original ‘Les Mis’ cast member, this Eurovision star won a Tony for originating the role of Eponine on Broadway making her practically theatrical royalty. 5/5
You may remember her from: If you didn’t catch her in the Original London/Broadway Cast of Les Miserables you may remember her from her 1994 Eurovision Song Contest entry ‘Lonely Symphony’. 4/5
Moment of glory:  The daughter of Sylvia Young has forged a successful career since bringing the show standard ‘On My Own’ to life in 1985. On screen she plays a prominent whore who convinces Fantine to sell her hair, accelerating her demise even further. One of the main ‘Luv’ly Ladies’ who line the streets “waiting for a quick one or a thick one in the park.” 4/5
‘Mizerable’ factor   At the bottom of the ladder, always looking up must be a particularly miserable position. With Fantine out of the way however and her hair for sale, a new wig and a broach may turn a dull day into a most cheerful one. 3/5

Killian Donnelly – Combeferre

West End Star Rating: a ‘Les Mis’ veteran has risen through the ranks and developed a wide fan base 3/5
You may remember him from: Donnelly has played a wide variety of roles in Les Miserables on stage, so chances are you have seen one of his many performances. He starred in the 25th Anniversary concert as Courfeyrac, as well as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. He is currently starring as Tony in Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre. 3.5/5
Moment of glory:  Irish born Donnelly plays one of the student rebels who build the barricades and fights “for the right to a night at the opera”. Sadly, he becomes an empty chair at an empty table, as Valjean doesn’t choose to drag him down into the sewers. 4/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  As one of the ‘champagne socialists’ it can’t be too miserable living off Daddy’s money and making sweeping statements about the state of the country. Rather like those who live in converted warehouses in Dalston. Misery factor certainly rises when you run out of ammunition and the guns start firing. 4/5

Fra Fee – Courfeyrac

West End Star Rating: Recent ‘Les Mis’ star who completes the crossover from stage to screen perfectly 3/5
You may remember him from: Fra Fee is a West End star with possibly one of the coolest names. Having understudied and played the role of Marius in the West End, he also recently featured in the Off-West End Award Winning ‘A Winter’s Tale’ at the Landor Theatre in the first professional production of Howard Goodall’s musical. 2.5/5
Moment of glory:  Fee is heavily featured throughout many of the student scenes and is given the unenviable task of taking care of the Artful Dodger, who has snuck into the movie, this time wielding a pistol and an attitude. Despite his best efforts to save the young boy, he is held back by the more sensible members of the barricade and narrowly misses saving the child’s life, although a brief respite in the shooting allows him to gracefully carry him away. He is head of the students-with-curly-hair committee, generating a new trend that we hope to see in our high streets soon: Revolutionary Chique. 3/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  Whilst it is always utterly miserable to watch a young, sparky young thing die early, things begin to look up as the flags start to wave. Harness the spirit and continue to fight. 3.5/5

Hadley Fraser – Army Officer of the National Guard

West End Star Rating: Half musical theatre half rock and roll genius. He manages to prove that ‘I sing in a band’ isn’t an appropriate excuse for not being able to pitch… 3/5
You may remember him from: This incredible performer graduated up through the ranks of Les Miserables on stage, ending with a triumphant performance as Javert. He was also a part of the 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2, playing the role of Grantaire. He is currently part of Ramin Karimloo’s band ‘The Sheytoons’. 3/5
Moment of glory:  As Army Officer, Fraser is responsible for breaking down the barricades and firing against the student revolutionaries. He gets one of the nicest costumes in the film, which remains immaculate throughout, despite the grime of nineteenth century Paris. 2.5/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  It’s always miserable playing the baddie. Even if you are just trying to keep the peace and stop the country falling into another state of despair. When the other side is a bunch of handsome students, you will never be the popular choice, leading to ultimate misery. 5/5

Alexa Khadime – Lovely Lady

West End Star Rating: As the first replacement Elphaba, along with winning a ‘Woman of the Future Award’, Khadime brings a touch of stardom to the movie. 3/5
You may remember her from: Khadime shot to fame as she took on the role of Elphaba in the West End to rave reviews. After playing Eponine in the West End production, replacing Samantha Barks in the role, she hop-footed into the movie version. She is soon to be seen in the best selling show of the year, The Book of Mormon, originating the role of Nabulungi. 3/5
Moment of glory:  Completing the West End line up as one of the ‘Luv’ly Ladies’, Khadime paints her face once again, this time not the iconic Elphaba green but in the clownish make up of the French prostitutes. Luring Fantine into the whorehouse along with the rest of the whores, she is happy to be selling her soul to the dark side. 2.5/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  The ladies of the night get a rough time from their clientele, but it could be worse – thank yourselves lucky Javert isn’t a regular. 3/5

Linzi Hatley – Turning Woman 1

West End Star Rating: A West End regular whose recent hits include the original casts of ‘Mary Poppins’ and the National’s ‘London Road’. 4/5
You may remember her from: The historic original RSC production of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie the Musical’ which is one of the most famous flops in theatre history. She is an incredibly talented performer with many years worth of experience, and has played ‘Eponine’ in the West End, and is currently playing Madame Thenardier (something she achieves without looking like Ms Lovett – H.B.C take note). 4/5
Moment of glory:  Although many would have thought that in editing the epic score ‘Turning’ would be the first piece to go, Hooper clearly thought otherwise. Hatley plays the first ‘Turning Woman’ who helps wash blood from the street (a skill that has clearly remained on her CV since the ‘Carrie’ days at the RSC), whilst also helping time to pass and the Revolutionary boys to lick their wounds. Where exactly she was during the ‘revolution’ we are not sure, but her furniture was probably the first to be turned out onto the street. 3/5
‘Mizerable’ factor  Despite the character looking towards the future for more peaceful times, there is nothing more miserable than scrubbing blood of the street in your Sunday best when your mangle was used to build a wrecked barricade. FML. 4/5

Who was your favourite cast member in Les Miserables the movie? Comment below with your thoughts on the film.

What do you think?

One thought on “Les Miserables Movie West End Cast

  1. jasmine says:

    Samantha Barks!!!! <3

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