3* REVIEW Les Miserables The Concert 2019 Alfie Boe

3* REVIEW Les Miserables The Concert 2019 Alfie Boe…

Les Miserables is one of the most heart-wrenching, moving, brilliant, immersive, perfect & brilliant three hours of entertainment.

For 16 weeks this summer, Cameron MacKintosh has moved out of The Queens Theatre into the Gielgud for ‘Les Miz The Concert’.…and left the heart of the show next door.

Don’t get me wrong, this show is beautifully lit in an X-Factor style, however, with no aging of Jean Valjean & no scenery to ‘set the scene’ – nearly all of the impact & punch of the show is lost.

Vocally the show is driven by the magnificent Alfie Boe – incomparable and in a global league of his own.

However, he struggles to rise above the imposing & oppressive orchestra who (despite offering a glorious noise) were just too loud in the mix with the vocals.

I wanted to punch the sound man….although I’m sure he was simply mixing as directed. Diction was an issue too tonight at times.

I found this show a mega-letdown, frustrating and disappointing. The magic of the 30+ year old gem was lost.

CLICK HERE to hear my review @YouTube

Let me be clear, the ensemble are magnificent, the staging is elaborate for a concert – but – I just didn’t feel anything.

Most infuriating was that the cast wore costumes, with changes, but JVJ didn’t age – too much trouble? I’d have rather just watched Alfie sing the hits and got to the pub by 9.30pm.

I felt nothing. Nothing. The first time EVER with the gem of a show. I’ve been reviewing it for 25 years all over the world…often with many of the cast currently involved in the concert.

The breathtaking original production…

All of the heartbreak was drowned out by the thunderous orchestra.

With tickets exceeding £200, I have to judge this like any other West End show, it just doesn’t stack up.

Frankly, spend £55 and go and see the UK TOUR which is magnificent.

Having just seen the quite remarkable Dean Chisnall, at the soon to be Sondhiem Theatre, lead the final cast of the original production at the Queen’s – this show left me cold and wondering if it’s simply a cash cow for MacKintosh to keep his legacy alive whilst he refits the Queens to the Sondheim.

Paint and carpet doesn’t come cheap in London!

‘The Concert’ simply doesn’t compare to the magnitude of the 02….let alone the original anthemic and now (unbelievably) deceased production.

Kudos to Carrie Hope Fletcher who has never sounded better during her final solo in the show. True beauty and tenderness vocally.

Congrats to Bradley Jaden who vocally stole the show with Alfie. Rob Houchen was also hugely impressive as the hearthrob Marius…originally played by Michael Ball.

As for Ball, well, ouch. I don’t know whether he was ill but his vocals were weak at best. Incomparable up against Boe not helped by a sound director who fades all vocals behind the band. Biggest fail of the show.

It was painful to hear his destruction of Stars – brought down an entire octave to save his blushes in places. I do hope he’s better soon. He’s seemingly too cute and doesn’t have the venom or energy to make Javert the baddy of the piece. Crucial for the show to work.

I loved Matt Lucas & Katy Secombe as the Thenardiers. Effortless and perfect.

Matt has to be careful not to pull focus (he’s that funny) – the audience LOVED him!

Alfie’s breaking of character for a cheap laugh after ‘Master’ was unforgivable. Disastrous for the credibility of the story. Speechless they’ve added this in.

I truly wanted to love this but I felt nothing. Honestly, I’d have rather just seen Alfie & Matt sing the hits  in concert, save time and get to the pub by 9.30pm.

Great shame.

Review by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio 11th August 2019.