cynicale: Drew Sarich, Leanne Dobinson, Jon Robyns and Nancy Sullivan (Default)
[personal profile] cynicale
The 25th Anniversary concert at the O2 arena was obviously the primary reason I chose to go to to London during this particular weekend, as it was one of those "once-in-a-lifetime" events I'd have hated to miss. We were quite worried about getting to and from the O2 arena, as there was a strike on the Jubilee-line scheduled for that evening, but that didn't end up being a problem. We made sure to leave our hotel very early though, just to ensure we didn't miss it. Instead of hanging around without doing anything in particular we decided to watch "Back to the Future" at the cinema. I'm not a fan, and the sound was obnoxiously loud, but it was a quite nice way to pass the time. The best thing about getting there early was the fact that I didn't have to queue to buy my program:)

Date: 3nd of October, evening
Seat: Vis a vis the stage, just half a mile away. One of the 110 tickets, I believe. About 100 pounds at least.
Venue: The 02 arena. It's massive. Gigantic. That's all.

Alfie Boe (Valjean)
He was a good Valjean, but far to operatic for my taste. I was a bit miffed when he didn't to fliiiiight! and so on the way I prefer. Neither did I think his Bring Him Home was anything special - if anything, I'd say it was quite poor. Apparently I was in the minority. He was really cute with tears in his eyes and everything at the seemingly endless standing ovation he got after performing it though:)

Norm Lewis (Javert)
His voice isn't the strongest on around, but I still enjoyed his performance. I'd have preferred to see someone else in the role, but based on videos I've seen of his performance during the Broadway Revival I thought he had improved a lot. I'm glad to have seen him live once:)

Lea Salonga (Fantine)
As I said after seeing her perform in the Broadway Revival: her Fantine is a bit too weepy. That is still my opinion. Her voice is beautiful though, and her performance was great! Seems a bit unfair for her to be asked to perform both in 1995 and 2010, when there are so many other candidates, but then again she was one of the best parts of the concert.

Katie Hall (Cosette)
See my Tour-review for details. One of my definite personal highlights of the evening.

Matt Lucas (Thénardier)
Charming fellow - that's one of his greatest flaws. Purely comical, a moment didn't pass when he didn't over-act. Every gesture seemed contrived, nothing came across as natural. Can't say I expected anything better, so he didn't exactly disappoint me, but a little depth wouldn't have gone amiss.

Jenny Galloway (Mme Thénardier)
She was herself, only not as good as in '95. I didn't find her particularly funny, per se, but I liked her well enough. Again with the being asked back a second time - Lea at least did two different roles, there was no reason they couldn't have picked anyone else for Madame T. this time.

Robert Madge (Gavroche)
Very good:) I feel any actor in this role passes or fails in the death-scene however, and they skipped it! Too bad for him.

Mia Jenkins (Little Cosette)
Aww! Mia is the one I've seen two or three times at Queens, the one with the adorable accent! I'm very glad they picked her for the role:) Again, too bad they skipped the second verse of Castle on a Cloud :(

Samantha Barks (Éponine)
She sang well, particularly On My Own - only a tiny riff. The way they stood during A Little Fall of Rain was patently ridiculous, but I'm guessing that wasn't just her fault. she did well with what she had.

Nick Jonas (Marius)
...I had resolved to keep an open mind, not judge him before actually seeing him perform...turns out I could have judged as much as I'd have liked. I thought he was terrible. He sang the score alright, but that was about it. His voice was far to weak, especially compared to everyone else - in One Day More he was completely drowned out by the others, and that wasn't just the mixer's fault. I also intensely disliked his way of delivering the lines - it sounded as if he recited them from the script, he brought no life to them whatsoever.

Ramin Karimloo (Enjolras)
Ramin! I've always wanted to see his Enjolras, and he lived up to my expectations. For me, he was the definite highlight of the evening - even taking into account whatever happened to his freeee! (I was desperately hoping he'd hit it, but of course he didn't. From what I've heard, the evening went much better than the matinée though, so I guess I'm doomed to think poor Ramin Karimloo! in 15 years, just as I now think poor Michael Maguire! every time I watch TAC.)

Hadley Fraser (Grantaire)
Former Marius, right? He didn't sound it. Not the kind of voice I prefer, but he did pretty well. Not overly weepy during Drink With me, seemed to be pretty close to Enjolras on account on two hugs. I'm very pleased he got his own bow, just as Anthony Crivello did in '95:)

It was fun to play spot the alumni among the ensemble - many notable names there, I know I've seen or at least heard of at least 80% of them. I'm very pleased Jeff Nicholson got to be the Factory Foreman, and that Lesgle (as played by Edward Baruwa) for once was bald amused me:)

Bringing in Colm Wilkinson and some of the other OLC was nice - audience-reaction to Colm was very cute:) I admit a whooped quite loudly when Michael Ball entered the stage - he's so sweet:) I felt a bit bad for Rebecca Caine ( was her, right?) though, as she got noticeably less cheers:( I'm not a big fan of Bring Him Home on the best of days, and I didn't think Colm started out very well either - it improved when JOJ joined in though:) I didn't realise Valjean 4 was Simon Bowman until [ profile] eppiesue mentioned it, but he was pretty much drowned out by the others (not to the same extent as Nick Jonas, but still).

Bringing in the school edition kids was a cheap move - did Cammack imagine anyone would care? Could definitely have gone without that part of the evening.

I had a good time. The tickets weren't worth 100 pounds, but I didn't expect them to either. I've pre-ordered the DVD and look forward to watching it again.

This is the first time I've used Semagic to post an entry, so if anything looks weird blame that.

Date: 2010-10-23 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think I should just stop reading peoples reactions to this concert because it always makes me a bit sad. I really, really enjoyed it (I did watch it in the cinema, don't know what difference that made). Now it is true that I'm not as well versed in all things Les Miz. I've only seen it once in London and the Norwegian version they put up a couple of years ago.

But beside Nick Jonas who was really bad, and Matt Lucas who wasn't right as Thenardier, I didn't find many flaws. I'll probably find them though when I get the dvd.

Ramin Karimloo was definitively the best for me. Not only have I completely fallen in love with the man (check out my tumblr :P) and his delicious voice, but I think he did a marvellous job. I didn't notice any of the things people have been bitching about.

Hadley Fraser was awesome. Enough said.

I also have discovered that they've done something with (don't know how recent though, but my recordings and the concert was different) In My Life, not sure what (made it a little faster?) but I really like this version. And Katie Hall is so wonderful. I love her Cosette.

Date: 2010-10-23 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, some people reacted very badly. I think it was worse before than after the concert though - everybody could only focus on bad casting, the commercialism and so on, not the fact that there would be a giant concert to commemorate 25 years of Les Mis. Did you think I was being overly negative in my review? I truly did enjoy myself, but that might not have come across as strongly as I intended.

I love Ramin:) In 2007 I made this icon, and my sentiments haven't changed a bit. Photobucket There's so much power behind his voice!

Seeing Hadley again is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to watching the DVD. As mentioned, I was seated half a mile away, and the top half of the screens were blocked by the lights. It didn't exactly make it easy for me to observe the acting of anyone very closely, so you have an advantage over me there:)

I can't say I recall what they've done to "In My Life", but I'm glad you like it. Sometimes the new orchestrations work, but in my experience they usually don't. There is room for differing opinions on the subject:)

I think Katie Hall is one of the best, and if her high notes hadn't been so operatic she probably would have been my favourite. As it is, Leanne Dobinson (who was in the chorus, apparently) had her beat in my affections:)

Date: 2010-10-27 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, you didn't seem too negative, I guess I'm just channelling my disappointed over to your review, cause you're my friend:) It's just all the people who said they didn't enjoy themselves at ALL, and stuff like that.

Prutty icon! &hearts

I think you'll really enjoy Hadley's Grantaire up close. He really did a great job, both singing and acting. I liked him a lot!

Maybe I just like operatic voices the best. I dunno, don't have enough to compare I think :)

Date: 2010-10-24 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG Hadley Grantaire what? Why has this not come to my attention before?!

Date: 2010-10-24 12:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I did a little double-take when I read his name in the brochure:)


cynicale: Drew Sarich, Leanne Dobinson, Jon Robyns and Nancy Sullivan (Default)

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