Lockdown review: Les Misérables – The Staged Concert

Les Misérables – The Staged Concert is released on digital download, along with a bonus featurette which is highly amusing

“Minutes into hours, and the hours into years”

Striding over the barricades to alleviate lockdown tedium, Les Misérables – The Staged Concert has now been released on digital download. The release will raise funds for performers, musicians and the NHS as well as incurring additional donations (an extra £5 for every purchase) from The Mackintosh Foundation which will go to the charity Acting for Others, the Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund and Captain Tom Moore’s Walk for the NHS fund

You can actually watch Bringing It Home – A Les Miz Stay at Home Special below but I thought I’d give you fair warning as it has its pros and cons.

Pros
Watching Shan Ako reduce several members of the company to tears
Seeing the size of Bradley Jaden’s sofa (and his loungewear)
Rob Houchen’s musical punning
The Marsh family being adorbs, again

Cons
CamMack’s humblebragging basket of fresh vegetables, which isn’t at all hiding his lines
Alfie Boe making himself laugh. More than once.
Not enough random Alex Kingston
It will make you miss being in a theatre something crazy

 
 

As for the show itself, I remain a little conflicted by the whole affair. Did this concert really need to happen? Was there an artistic impetus behind it rather than trying to ensure the longest-running show argument still held? To hear the cast talk about the special atmosphere at every performance suggests there was something unique at work here that I missed. For me though, a semi-staged concert is still a concert (and this is the third time the show has gone for the concert style) and ultimately, I want more from my theatre, even with a show I love as much as this.

For now though, this is what we have. And what we have is a fantastically high-quality, well-edited rendition of the show which sounds fantastic (also included are the specially recorded pre-show announcement and the post-show treats of a succession of special guests). The top-notch cast sing as if its the first time they’re hearing the music – Shan Ako’s Éponine is knock-’em’-out fantastic – and most deal with the format well, even if Alfie Boe can’t seem to shake a physical stiffness as Valjean.

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