Les Miserables School Edition
Lowther Pavilion, Lytham
I have been lucky enough to escape to Paris, not on a cheap flight from Blackpool Airport but on a flight of fantasy courtesy of Musical Youth UK Blackpool at the Lowther Pavilion.
From the moment I arrived at the theatre I was immersed in the action, thanks to a stage set with pillars, bridges and barricades - which raised an air of excitement in the auditorium.
MyUK’s production of Les Miserables (until tomorrow) is a must-see show that will leave you emotional and tearful, yet immensely proud of the high standard of acting and singing of this young company.
The cast soon established their characters and the big group numbers were notable because of the animated faces of the company and the volume of the singing voices that soared above the 16-piece orchestra.
There were a few sound glitches but these were soon balanced to provide us with some faultless performances from all the principals.
Shane Rice nailed the role of Jean Valjean with a tearful rendition of Bring Him Home that brought an absolute hush in the theatre.
He acted the various ages of Valjean with great skill and craft.
There were also stunning performances from Molly Wright as Fantine, Katy Johnston as Eponine and Teri Murkin as Cosette, who each delivered the big songs with voices worthy of West End appearances.
I particularly enjoyed the unassuming performance of Ciaran O’Brien as Marius and the stage commanding dominance of Daltrey Wrigley as Enjolras.
The comic Thenardiers (Ben Smythe and Katie Donelli-Hunn) was a high spot that had the audience clapping along. Jordan Kennedy played the evil Javert with energy and strength.
Kelly Hancock created and directed the production in 15 weeks, or 45 hours as she points out in the programme. Add to this the musical direction by Joe Martin, who commanded the orchestra and cast brilliantly, and your visit to Paris will be extra special.