Sunday, 28 October 2012

Les Miserables

 Anybody who knows me will know that I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Les Mis and everything to do with it. I HAD  to talk about it in my first post really, but don't worry I won't in every post, or at least, I'll try not to but I can't really promise anything. Having read the book twice and, shamefully, only seen it on stage once - I'm desperate to go again sometime soon - I love finding out more about it and embarrassingly often find myself searching 'Les Miserables' on Google just to find out the latest news or to do some research into an area of the book I'm particularly interested in - I just find other people's opinions on themes and characters so interesting.

If you're not familiar with the story, and I cannot recommend it enough, the basic plot is of Jean Valjean who breaks his parole and looks set to continue a life of recidivism until he meets a benevolent Bishop who changes his life completely. As well as Valjean there are many other characters including Javert, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Eponine and Enjolras, each of whom have their own individual stories, all of which are beautifully written (particularly Fantine's) and each could be a different book in it's own right. But I do have to warn you, Les Mis is a little depressing, I won't tell you why because that would ruin it but, I mean,  who doesn't love a good cry every now and again? And to be honest, the more I've come to know the story, the more I see the ending as supremely happy and that what happens needed to happen, despite the original feelings of "why!!??" There's something for everyone, as you would probably expect with such a big book, including romance, redemption, compassion, social injustice and, most importantly I think, the idea of love getting you through everything, no matter how bad. Victor Hugo also writes so brilliantly that he allows you to invest in the characters in a way that I think is so rare and hard to find; there isn't a character you don't feel for, no matter what they do (actually I would say despite the Thenardier's who are so evil they could only be found in a book).
Anyway, if you're not really in the mood for a 1200+ page long book written in the mid-1800s, the genius' that are Claude-Michel Shonberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer came together in the 1980s to bring the epic musical of the same name into existence with producer Cameron Mackintosh, of Cats and Phantom of the Opera. With songs including I Dreamed a Dream (remember Susan Boyle??) Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing and On my Own, to name some of the more well known ones, this musical is fantastic and beautiful and I just love it so much, I can't even say.
Another thing that I'm unbelievably excited about is the upcoming Les Mis film which comes out on January 11th 2013 in the UK. With stars including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne it looks set to be absolutely amazing! However, the cast member I'm most excited about seeing is Samantha Barks, who first came into the public eye in Andrew Lloyd Webber's TV show I'd Do Anything in which he searched for a new Nancy for the show Oliver!. But that was back in 2008 and since then Barks has been in many West End shows including Oliver! as Nancy (although she only came third she later picked up the role after Jodie Prenger, the winner, moved on) and of course Les Miserables as Eponine, the role she will be reprising in the film and also played in the fantastic 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2 arena. The reason I'm mentioning Sam really is because I'm so incensed by the fact that, despite playing one of the main characters in the musical at least, she is being completely overlooked in all the advertising. I know that she's not a big Hollywood name and the whole point of advertising is to get people to come and see the film and without the names it's unlikely that many people would, but still I think it would be nice for her to at least have a poster - she has the song On my Own for goodness sake!!

But anyway, after that little rant, I can go on to say how excited I am for the film! If I'm completely honest I have to admit that, even if I had no previous knowledge of Les Mis I would probably have wanted to go and see it anyway, purely for the shallow reason that Eddie Redmayne is in it and also because of Hugh Jackman's smolder in the above poster. Just. Wow. So, yes, I will definitely be getting back to you on that one in January!
I've definitely been going on for far too long now but one more thing about the movie: the script was also released and then taken down again by Universal about a week ago. However, luckily I managed to find it and it looks absolutely amazing, I can't even begin to explain. It looks as if they are attempting to add even more details from the book and combining this with the stage show to make one that will hopefully match my really quite high expectations. - and the trailers look so promising so fingers crossed. But, yes, watch this space.
As well as that (this is a very Les Mis year!) my school announced before we left for summer that we are going to be doing the schools production of the show in February, cue far too much excitement from me and some friends who share some of my love for it. Unfortunately I had no where near enough nerves to go and audition, that and I just couldn't face getting turned away from Les Mis - it goes against everything the whole story stands for! My inability to sing also scared me too much, but luckily three of my friends can sing and did have the nerves to go and audition and got in (well done to them!) and are currently in the rehearsal stages and filling me in with details of them being whores almost daily. Is it really that bad that I desperately want to be a prostitute too??
I feel I must say before I go, that this post has turned into less of a review and more into my huge excitement for upcoming Les Mis things and why I love it so much so, sorry about that, but I promise my future posts will be actual reviews of things. I hope I have managed to share some of my Les Mis excitement, though, and hopefully encouraged at least someone to give the musical or even the book a try. The story really is life changing and I like to think this book IS my silver candlesticks. I cannot recommend it enough.

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