Have you ever been so happy in a moment, you wanted to cry? That was me sitting in the Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End watching Les Misérables last month.
I think Les Misérables came into my life around 2011. I was staying with a friend who loved it and had ordered both concert editions for us to watch, the 10th Anniversary edition with Colm Wilkerson and the 25th anniversary edition with Alfie Boe. I am going to be honest, I wasn’t too keen. A musical where they sing everything? Ehhhh. She played some of the first one and switched to the second one. I am always on my computer so I surfed the web while the concerts were playing but slowly, I started getting interested. She went to bed and I took the DVD upstairs to finish the story.
There was no cable in my room so I ended up watching/listening to Les Misérables every night while I was on the computer and slowly started getting obsessed. Every day I would come downstairs with some new tidbit, either about the musical or the performers. My friend said she felt like I took Les Mis from her and she gave me the 25th anniversary DVD when I left, because that was my favorite version.
I was lucky enough to see the 25th anniversary touring edition when it came thru Seattle but had a horrible seat and was by myself, so while I enjoyed the music, I would have been better off watching my DVD. I decided then, that from now on, I will have to spend the extra money on good seats. You see how big my glasses are, I need to be a lot closer to enjoy the show.
I really wanted to see Les Misérables when it was on Broadway, either with Alfie Boe or Ramin Karimloo who were both in the 25th Anniversary edition concert but I just couldn’t swing it scheduling wise. Last year I was in London by myself but only for a few days so didn’t get to see Les Mis there either so when I was in Birmingham this summer I decided I wanted to go back to London and I wanted to see Les Misérables so I asked Arran if he would be interested.
Arran is pretty easy going (even though I couldn’t get him to go see Beauty and the Beast with me) and not only said yes, he didn’t bat an eye when I said we had to get good seats, I wanted to be able to see them spit.
In preparation for our trip, I bought the 25th anniversary edition on Amazon (I have no idea which box my DVD is in and it’s in the states) so I could stream it over and over and over again. Poor Arran. He would have preferred not to know the music ahead of time and here I am, trying to learn the words, LOL.
Here’s a little clip from the 25th Anniversary, with Ramin as Enjolas:
Finally it was the day of and I was a tad excited.
We left our hotel a little later than planned so no time for dinner before the show. It’s ok, we got inside early and had a drink. My new fave drink is passion fruit and orange J20. It’s a carbonated fruit juice that is utterly refreshing and delicious so why would I need something alcoholic when I could have something so good?
A kind lady offered to take our photo. I wish I had taken my coat off so you could see my dress. I thought the color was too much (it’s a bit shimmery) but the saleslady had me try it on and I loved it.
Once we were allowed in the theater everyone was taking photos of themselves in front of the screen, so we had to as well.
The theater is so pretty and it’s more intimate than you expect. I think most seats would be pretty decent but I want to see the spit, which I did! The ceiling is much prettier than the photo can convey.
And then it was time for the lights to dim and the magic to happen. We were a week before the new cast change. I was a little disappointed we didn’t get to see the new Jean ValJean, Killian Donnelly because he was also in the anniversary edition and I was a little worried that we would get a cast who was phoning it in. I worried for nothing. The cast was magnificent. Simon Gleeson has also played JVJ in Australia and the Philippines and he was sublime. He compares to Alfie Boe to me. Javert was played by Jeremy Secomb and he blew me away. I couldn’t find a good video of Simon but here is Jeremy singing Stars.
So I’m sitting there, listening to a musical I’ve been obsessed with for 6 years and holding Arran’s hand and I could honestly say, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Sometimes we don’t realize how happy we are until later but I was lucky enough to bask in the moment and feel the joy of being there. Pretty ironic considering the story of Les Misérables, LOL.
As much as I love the concert editions, it just doesn’t compare to watching Les Mis live. I never got the love people felt for the Thenadiers until I saw the show in London. They were great fun. If you have a chance to see Les Mis, I highly encourage it and maybe you too, will experience a moment of perfect happiness, like I did. 🙂
Here’s a video of Alfie Boe and Matt Lucas singing He Ain’t Heavy that is just beautiful. One day I will see Alfie.