Your Last Chance To See The Original Les Miserables

Les Misérablesis likely the most well-known musical of all time, the name familiar to people who will never even hear of Everybody’s Talking About JamieWaitress, or Come From Away. The famous show is, however, due to undergo some changes later this year to adapt the iconic original staging to the version used for the touring production and the recent Broadway revival.

It’s easy to see why some people are intimidated by Les Mis– it’s still the longest show in the West End and its topic isn’t exactly light. The book it’s based off is so large it’s nicknamed ‘the brick’ by fans. But despite this, the show has been running for what would have been 34 years this October and continues to bring in crowds of tourists and Londoners alike. It undoubtedly remains a hit.

Despite the historical significance to the current production of the show (the longest running musical in the world), the decision has been made to ‘update’ it and the final opportunity to see the original version is in June. I’ve seen the show countless times across the years and will most definitely be sad to see it go, so I headed out to the Queens Theatre to take a lot at the production that is being deemed not worthy of further longevity.

Les Misérablesremains the impressive production it has always been. Transforming a limited black box set into barricades, inns, factories and the streets of Paris is no easy feat and yet, with talented actors and commendable staging, the sets come to life on stage. The orchestrations still haunt you when you leave and the story stretches beyond the bounds of the world of musical theatre. Each performance features over 400 costumes, some of which are among the most recognisable costumes in the world. For a show that was declared a flop by some on opening night, it has definitely come a long way.

It’s hard to say how much of this will be lost when the show reopens at the Queens Theatrein December after a brief concert-staged stint at the Gielgud. Most certainly the current staging and revolve, but also potentially some of the costumes (Cosette’s black and white dress already seems to be being phased out) and, I would argue, the spirit of the show won’t survive unscathed with the changes that are being made. The new staging will still be Les Mis, of that I have no doubt, but it won’t be the same. If you haven’t seen the West End production yet, get yourself down to the Queens Theatre before the end of an era.