2nd December 2015
Lyric Theatre QPAC
Good come to those who wait. After an unexplained 'delay' of around 25 minutes last night the curtain finally rose on a truly spectacular piece of musical theatre - Les Miserables. A multi million dollar production and it looked like it.
Universally the singing was thrilling. So many great voices, so much passion and god, so many costumes changed at lightning speed. The ensemble cast could exit in one direction and within moments would reappear somewhere else as a different character as the set also changed miraculously and flawlessly before your eyes. I saw one set and relevant costumes that lasted but a matter of seconds. This was like a well edited film. And while on the matter of production values there is one scene where Javert leaps to his death which is breathtaking and nothing short of the best live theatre magic I have ever witnessed and elicited a huge ovation by a spellbound audience. I won't give away the details. The joy of hearing such powerful voices amplified a touch too much for me and a touch too little for my friend was exciting. Subjective assessments like this are what make theatre personal, but all cried at places that affect them the most.
For me was the special thrill of seeing Sarah Murr and Billy Bourchier (bottom right above) on stage for the 4th time each this year. Two 21 year olds with gigantic talents. Although understudying more major roles their numerous ensemble characters was a complete surprise as they each seemed to be prominent in scene after scene and with so many solo sings I was simply awestruck by their enormous talent. They are truly stars on the rise. I wish I had a photo of Sarah toting that huge rifle as she mounted the battlements, Billy with his crutches dance and their heroic deaths. So many moments to shine because I could not take my eyes off them. As I am not writing a book I will just mention three outstanding voices that affected me so much.
Of course Simon Gleeson as Jean Valjean just had to elicit loud screaming Bravos from me, Kerry Greenland as Eponine brought forth hushed gasps from everyone around me and Euan Doige (above) as Marius had the most beautiful, young and adorable voice. A truly individual sound that had a gentility that was pure passion and love.
I should also mention that Trevor Ashley is surely a great Australian Star. An amazing performer, a charismatic chameleon and an entertainer par excellence. As the last note rung out David Bentley and I were the first to our feet yelling for the cast, the production and well we must not forget the composers. This is truly a musical/modern opera of great worth and this is a performance that should not be missed.
Brilliant 2.50 video sample of this production and cast.
Brisbane Cast at Lyric Theatre QPAC
with friends Billy Bouchier front row red bow tie and Sarah Murr far right black dress