London Theatre Round-up: ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ ‘Mate, you’re hearing voices again…’

I love Les Miserables. It’s between that and West Side Story for my favourite musical. Killer scores and orchestration, compelling story lines and memorable songs – what more do you need? Since moving to London I have jumped headfirst into a new job and spent my weekends exploring museums and markets galore (as well as catching up on much-needed sleep). But I felt like I wasn’t seeing enough of the shows and productions that London is famous for. So rather than whinge about it, I’ve made it my mission to get out and about as much as possible and see as much as I can. No song unsung, no wine untasted.

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Les Miserables

I was lucky enough to see Les Mis recently at the Queen’s Theatre. And just wow. I can’t get the songs out of my head. The cast were completely flawless and the production was as slick as you would expect.

Best bits: Peter Lockyer blew my tiny mind with his performance. You believe his ageing process without question and ‘Bring Him Home’ was on par with the great Colm Wilkinson’s interpretation. Well-played good sir. The best scene was undoubtedly the ‘Master of the House’ scene by the Thenardiers. I’ve seen this scene so many times in different shows but I’ve never seen it so intricately choreographed and just so damn funny! Les Mis is hardly a laugh-a-minute production but the comic duo really did have the audience laughing.

Slightly ‘meh’ bits: Fantine was a little wet for my taste and the overall production perhaps took some time to ‘warm up’ before it got into its stride.

Final thoughts: I am determined to see this production again. If anyone wants to buy me a ticket I will not object.

Oppenheimer John Heffernan as oppenheimer ben allen as edward teller

Oppenheimer

I didn’t really know what to expect with the RSC’s Oppenheimer at the Vaudeville Theatre. I had done a little revision on the infamous father of the atomic bomb before I went, but I was not sure how the history would translate onto the stage.  It was certainly different which was refreshing and overall it worked.

Best bits: The scene changes were often frenetic which kept the narrative fast-moving and the set was a character of its own with the constant drawing of formulae (see image above).

Slightly ‘meh’ bits: At times the production was a bit dry and the plot was slightly convoluted.

Final thoughts: An interesting one and a unique performance. Though perhaps not for the faint-hearted.

Curtain Call during Charlie and The Chocolate Factory The Musical, 1st Anniversary performance, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane - London

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I still don’t think my eyes have recovered after seeing this show at The Theatre Royal. Having read the book and watched the films, I thought I had an idea of how this production would play out….

Best bits: The whole show was crazy! You would think you’d seen it all and then a troupe of giant squirrels came dancing out or there was another laser light show. The sets were absolutely ridiculous and the lighting and props were delightfully odd.

Slightly ‘meh’ bits: I have to say that it was a bit of a slow starter. I understand that you need a bit of exposition but it just took too long. And some songs were definitely better than others…

Final thoughts: To this day I’m not sure if I was at the theatre or tripping, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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Three completely different shows and all thoroughly enjoyed. Well-played London theatre, well-played…

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