Once a year we have to make sure Mrs G goes and sees the longest running musical in the West End. For as many years as she has lived she has seen Les Miserables.
So once a year I get to go to New York, and I also get to see Les Mis but not necessarily in New York. This now means a trip down to Lahndan and pay half of the mortgage for a seat in the heavens behind a column.
It’s also my favourite piece of musical theatre and I was pretty happy with the movie version, not that Liam Neeson one as they didn’t even include “Do you hear the people sing”. Instead it seemed to be 19th Century version of ‘The Fugitive’ where some guy is on the run from the police but decides to hide by making a lot of money, becoming a politician and then being an adoptive dad. A bit like ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ but with urchins instead of Gary Coleman and no Marius screaming “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Enjolras?”
Where is my show about jaunty students who do a bit of singing, discuss their plans for the weekend then all go out and get shot? I assume this is what Les Miserables is all about because any scene beyond the barricade is just like the million goodbyes in Return of the King. What is the point of a big battle to then spend another hour while everyone says goodbye or the remaining characters over 30 all die?
Normally I am turned off by feelings and tragedy, and as Les Mis has a similar body count to a Game of Thrones episode it should be pretty hard going. Yet it manages to do that one thing that is often very difficult, make abject misery fun. Even when life is going a bit belly up at least you can have a good sing about it, and it doesn’t hurt that the score is amazing. Look at “One Day More”, they’ll all singing about how tomorrow is going to bring death and people urinating blood but it’s a hell of a show stopper (and part of me wishes it would stop there as I really don’t like Act 2).
Do you hear the people sing?
“Oy Vey” shouted Mrs G at my comments about Act 2, but she doesn’t understand as she likes to discuss emotions and stuff like romance. There’s a lot of talking about all the bad stuff that they were all so excited about just an hour or so earlier, which seems to be a symptom of all the characters drinking a cup of stupid in the interval. If they are not jumping off bridges then they are all running out to get shot by waving a giant red flag. Perhaps Javert got to Enjolras and said that they were facing a herd of bulls instead of the French Military. Then Javert gets really sad about constantly being duped by JVJ and decides the only thing he can do now the man he has always chased his life for is about to give himself up fully and without condition is to launch himself off a Pont, because that’s the normal reaction of anyone who has finally achieved their life goal.
I think all this ranting is partly because I was overlooked for the part of Thénardier, which I guess is completely understandable as I have never played the part, I’m not a Hollywood name and I can’t sing. I think it was the lack of experience that was the problem. How can I get experience if no one would give me a chance to sing “Master of the House” to them?
And I say to Mrs G, I get it you like Les Miserables but if you don’t stop singing at me I won’t take you to see it. Then she pouts at me and threatens me like Javert that she will hunt me down and then something about stars.