Review: Les Misérables at Wales Millennium Centre

“Les Misérables is one of the world’s most popular musicals. The cast bring the musical to life in a scenic production that is bound to impress.”

Les Misérables is one of the world’s most popular musicals, so it’s no surprise that it’s coming back to Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre. This touring production of Les Misérables has some fantastic actors and singers who bring this story to life in a scenic production that is bound to impress. It’s been adapted from Victor Hugo’s epic masterpiece by well known playwright Alain Boublil, who also co-wrote the songs with Claude-Michel Schonberg. The book is brought to life with the help of those powerful songs which have become an iconic soundtrack for this musical theatre show.

Jean Valjean breaks parole and goes on the run when he steals bread for his family, causing him to serve nineteen years in prison before being released into society again. He meets Cosette, an orphaned girl who lives with Fantine, a struggling factory worker who has just lost her job. Valjean takes Cosette under his wing. However, their happiness doesn’t last long when Javert returns from exile determined not only to arrest Valjean but also destroy his new family’s happiness.

Dean Chisnall leads the cast well in the role of Jean Valjean and Nic Greenshields successfully brings all the menace required in his performance of Javert. In addition to these two leads there are several other performers who stand out including Lauren Drew as Fantine, Siobhan O’Driscoll as Éponine, Paige Blankson as Cosette, and Will Callan as Marius.

This production gets the balance just right: it’s not too depressing, but there’s enough heartbreak and trauma to keep you on the edge of your seat. And if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the emotion, there are plenty of opportunities for laughter along the way — especially from publicans and chancers Thénardier (Ian Hughes) and his wife Madame Thénardier (Helen Walsh).

It’s always a pleasure to see a well-known production at Wales Millennium Centre with its state-of-the-art stage and lighting design. The cast give their all with powerful performances throughout as they sing songs such as “Stars”, “One Day More” and “Bring Him Home”. The staging, costumes and set design are particularly impressive as they capture all aspects of Victor Hugo’s epic masterpiece including wartime scenes during Napoleon’s reign which have been recreated using projections on stage screens so you don’t miss out on any important details! It all successfully makes you feel as if you are on location in Paris during this time period.

For anyone who hasn’t seen Les Misérables this tour it offers a brilliant chance to see why the show is one of world’s most popular musicals. The cast are fantastic, the story is great and the music is amazing. The production is brilliant and this show is a must see for anyone who hasn’t seen it before. Les Misérables returns to Cardiff for four weeks and it should be on your must-see list for those four weeks.

Les Misérables is on at Wales Millennium Centre’s Donald Gordon Theatre 13 December 2022 – 14 January 2023. Tickets from £22.50 available online here or from the Wales Millennium Centre Box Office.

Image credits: Danny Kaan