Wednesday, 6 August 2014

LES MIS vs PHANTOM - Sunday 3rd August 2014


I have to post a few thoughts on the wonderful day that I had at the annual Les Mis vs Phantom charity football match last weekend.

This was my 2nd time visiting this event - and as I travelled down to Bromley on a very warm Sunday morning, I began to wonder if anything could top the brilliant day I had at the event last August. But my expectations were exceeded, no absolutely obliterated!

The event, organised by Les Mis resident director Chris Key, had an added tinge of sadness this year as Chris explained on the Les Mis vs Phantom website: - "As many of you will know, our inspiration for starting this event, Melanie Oakley-Dow, sadly lost her battle with cancer at the end of last year. She is extremely missed by her family and all who knew her and Les Misérables is not the same without her. We will be playing this years match in her memory, hence our goal in making this years match the best one yet! "

And from my perspective, that goal was totally achieved!

From cake stalls, to hoopla, the bouncy castle, raffle, silent auction to face painting (I had mine done by the awesome Melanie Bright from Les Mis!) - this was definitely a day for the whole family, and that was all before the on pitch activities had even started!

Commencing with a performance from local dance group Studio 74, there was definitely a feel good atmosphere all around the ground. This atmosphere only continued at half time with phenomenal performances from Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lucie Jones, Liam Tamne and Sapphire Soul.

WATCH: Carrie Hope Fletcher performs LET IT GO and Liam Tamne performs HAPPY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j0maWzkXiM

WATCH: Lucie Jones performs DON'T STOP BELIEVING https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ9K2gdFaGY

The match itself was definitely a more tense affair compared to last year - where Team Les Mis won on penalties - as Team Phantom came out as winners after 90 minutes with a score of 4-3! I can't imagine how gutted Chris Key must have been to hand the trophy over to Team Phantom - although he deserves special credit for his Man of the Match goalkeeping skills.

But two of the most stand out moments of the day for me were two vocal performances that occurred before the match.

As I said earlier, the event was played in tribute to Melanie Oakley Dow. But as an additional tribute to her, the 4 Valjeans (Chris Holland, Peter Lockyer, Daniel Koek and Geronimo Rauch) performed an absolutely heart-breaking version of the Les Mis classic BRING HIM HOME. Now, I'll be the first to admit - this song usually makes me cry. But there was something about this version of the song which broke my heart more than usual. I have so much respect and admiration for all 4 of the Valjeans who performed as individuals - but there was definitely magic in the air as they sang their hearts out in the sunshine. I have no doubt Mel was looking down and smiling as they did.

WATCH: The 4 Valjeans perform BRING HIM HOME https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F63ilGRpVko

The other vocal performance which just blew me away was also by Geronimo Rauch. Now, when host with the most Carl Mullaney announced that unlike the previous year, we wouldn't be having the team anthems, I will be honest and say I was quite gutted as they had been a HUGE highlight of the previous years event. However, my sadness was extremely short-lived as Carl went on to announce that instead,  Geronimo would be performing the legendary NESSUN DORMA to bring the teams out!

Needless to say, anyone who knows me knows how much respect and admiration I have for Geronimo as a performer but even I was in shock at this (in a good way though!) Was it possible me to be even more in awe of this man's amazing talent?

WATCH: Geronimo Rauch performs NESSUN DORMA  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1-i8EMGIvI

Quite simply - yes. Yes it was. Even now - 4 days since the event, I am still completely in awe of the performance that I was witness to. Geronimo is an extremely talented guy, and an absolute gentleman at that! If you haven't seen him perform live before, I urge you to get to see him in "The Phantom of the Opera" as soon as you can - you won't be disappointed!

Finally, a big amount of respect must go to event organiser Chris Key. He has yet again put on a wonderful day that has raised so much for charity - for his overwhelming warmth of heart and giving spirit all while remaining so humble, Chris totally deserves all the praise that comes his way - and then some.

As you can tell, a fantastic day was had by all! And not only that, I got to spend the day with 4 of the best friends a girl could ask for. I won't name names, but you know who you are!!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl X x x

MARRY ME A LITTLE (St James Studio - Saturday 2nd August 2014)

 
After having my mind truly blown by the cast of DESSA ROSE at the matinee, I headed over to my one of my favourite London theatre venues – St James Theatre, near Victoria – for the second part of what was another day of firsts for me.
 
Now, I know this may be a shock (please don’t kill me!) but, to my knowledge I have never seen a Sondheim musical! This is not through choice, may I add. I have just never been to one of his productions before. However, when I heard that former Blue Eyed Girl interviewee SIMON BAILEY and former Light Princess and Playing Our Part star LAURA PITT PULFORD were starring in MARRY ME A LITTLE at St James Studio – I decided the lack of Sondheim in my life needed remedying.
As I entered the Studio space, the setting immediately struck me. I had only even been in this space once before and that was for a Hadley Fraser gig nearly 2 years ago. So to see it set for a performance was quite something for my mind to get used to. The setting was a New York apartment front room, complete with two rows of shoes, noticeably male and female; a sofa; a guitar; and shelves full of books and souvenirs.
As I took my seat, my curiousity continued to grow as the lights went down and both Simon and Laura took to the stage.  Was I watching two people in the same apartment? You would think so through how the performance space was shared. However, as the opening song “Two Fairy Tales” began, it soon became clear that what we were actually watching was two single people – only known to us as “Man” and “Woman” – “left alone in their respective studio apartments on a Saturday night, passing their time with sweetly secret, unshared fantasies, never knowing that they’re just a floor away from each other and the end of their lonely dreams.”
Throughout this 75 minute show, you see every side of the potential relationship evolve on stage – from the nervous starts and having the courage to ask someone out; the ups and downs of the tricky dating scene; lust and passion; silly things only two partners would understand; marriage; and how sometimes, however heartbreaking, things don’t always work out how you plan. And it is a testament to the two amazingly talented performers on that stage that as an audience member, you care so much about what happens to these two characters.
I have had the honour of seeing Laura Pitt Pulford on stage 3 times now – in “The Light Princess”, at Playing Our Part singing “Before the Parade Passes By” and now “Marry Me A Little” – and I am absolutely convinced there is nothing this girl can’t sing! I was mesmerised by every aspect of her phenomenal performance. From the super speedy and pure genius of the quick changes in “Can that Boy Foxtrot”, to the loved up “Marry Me A Little” and the emotional “There Won’t Be Trumpets”, her voice was absolutely faultless no matter what range she needed to cover and add to this her innate ability to draw in an audience and make them believe in everything she does and says. Her chemistry with Simon was one of the outstanding features of this production and I defy anyone not to be utterly heartbroken by their final duet in the show. (More on this later!) Laura truly is a very special talent and definitely one of the most underappreciated female performers in the UK Theatre Industry today.
Simon Bailey is at his charismatic best throughout the show and as with Laura, takes you on an emotional rollercoaster as you learn about the ups and downs of his relationship dreams and fantasies. What struck me most about the performance Simon gives here is that – in comparison to the productions I have seen him in previously - it is such an open, honest and utterly heart-wrenching performance as you see his character go from the highest of highs to the lowest of heart-breaking lows. Stand out moments had to be his dynamic chemistry and intense spark with Laura during “All Things Bright and Beautiful/Bang”, and the emotionally charged finale “It Wasn’t Meant to Happen”, where even Simon needed a few moments to wipe the tears from his eyes before taking his bow. After being my first ever interviewee here at “Thoughts of a Blue Eyed Girl”, I consider it a true honour to support Simon where I can and to see him add yet another fantastic string to his bow.
I can honestly say that my first ever experience of live Sondheim was a truly memorable one and I have no doubt this will not be my last – considering the entire score for this show were Sondheim cast-offs, I wonder what Sondheim approved shows are like?
MARRY ME A LITTLE is only on until this Sunday (10th August) so make sure you get down to St James Theatre to catch this piece of enchanting Sondheim magic.
Signing off for now
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx


DESSA ROSE - Saturday 2nd August 2014


 
It is not often that I am left speechless after seeing a new production. Moreover, it is a very rare occurrence indeed when I sit there thinking “how on earth am I going to write about this?” – those who know me will attest to the fact that I’ve always got something to say, ha ha!

But in the case of DESSA ROSE, a new production currently running at Trafalgar Studios 2 by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and directed by Andrew Keates, this was very much the case.
DESSA ROSE tells the story of “a young black woman and a young white woman and their journey to acceptance in 1847 in the American Deep South, as they tell their story to their grandchildren.” I will be brutally honest – when I read this synopsis after a close friend got me a ticket to see the show, I wasn’t totally sure that this would be something I would enjoy.
But boy, how wrong was I?
As I walked in to the intimate space of Trafalgar Studios 2 for the first time, I was struck by the simplicity of what I saw. Chains hanging from the ceiling; a plain set design and only four musicians positioned around the studio floor, with one even in a corner by the door. As I headed to my front row seat, I had a good idea I would be very close to the action – and I was so right! Let’s just say had I stretched my feet out any further, I would have been tripping cast members up left, right and centre (Although I will say – there is no bad seat in this fantastic performance space!)
When it comes to the production itself, this is an honest, hard hitting, joyous yet brutal tale of two very different women.  As Dessa and Ruth narrate their respective stories, it is impossible not to be completely drawn into to everything they say, and experience every emotion that they feel. The intimacy of the space truly makes you feel that you are right in the heart of the story – you are able to look into the eyes, and thus the souls of all of these characters and it is a truly mesmerising experience. And it is as a result of this that at several points, I found I had to stop myself from running in to stop some of the horrific, yet historically accurate events I was seeing before me.
But it is the sign of a truly special group of performers that can take such a powerful story and evoke such emotion in an audience.
I had never seen Cassidy Janson in a production before. But as Ruth, she was able to deliver such a moving portrayal as the Southern Belle who was forced to “open her eyes” to the wider world around her after her “dream life” was ruined by the disappearance of her husband. Her growing forbidden love for Nathan (Edward Baruwa) was so beautiful to watch and you could really see the emotion in her eyes as the realisation that they could never be together became a reality. The sequence when Ruth first meets Dessa (Cynthia Erivo) and they argue over Ruth’s “Mammy’s” real name was also so intense and emotionally charged that you could feel Ruth’s heart-breaking in front of you as she realised that her life may not have been as simple as she always thought. Cassidy’s performance was just fantastic and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
One performer in this production who I had come across before was the phenomenal Cynthia Erivo (Dessa). I can honestly say, hand on heart, that this amazing lady could sing anything and it would blow me away – but in DESSA ROSE, she really takes it to another level. Throughout the production, Cynthia brings Dessa to life with such power, beauty, passion and intense vulnerability that I defy anyone not to be moved to tears by the enchanting portrayal that she delivers. Cynthia shines throughout and her vocals are faultless as always, but her vocals in “Twelve Children” and “In the Bend of My Arm” were particular hauntingly beautiful highlights in another career defining performance for this fantastic actress.
I must also give a special mention to Jon Robyns (Adam) – another performer who I had not come across before DESSA ROSE. But his performance as the struggling writer who falls for Dessa after beginning to chronicle her life story, before descending into confusion and madness as a result was so exhilarating to watch and definitely one of the most intense elements of this hard hitting show.  Robyns also delivered a beautiful vocal performance in his solo numbers and this makes me even more eager to see him back on stage when he joins the cast of MEMPHIS later this year.
Everywhere I have been and everyone who I have spoken to since I left Trafalgar Studios 2 last Saturday has well and truly had their ear bent by me going on and on about how this production is a must-see! Despite seeing numerous reviews comparing it to The Colour Purple (which also starred Cynthia and several other cast members), I can say that DESSA ROSE isn’t trying to be The Colour Purple. If anything, I see DESSA ROSE more as a harder hitting, powerful and more honest cousin to the famous novel!
However, there is one clear similarity – just as The Colour Purple ran to rave reviews last summer, DESSA ROSE is a must see that I can only urge you to go out of your way to see. I promise you won’t regret it.

Signing off for now
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Blue Eyed Girl interviews . . . MISS SAIGON's Jon Jon Briones

(From www.imdb.com)

It was in May this year that I made my first ever visit to see the 25th Anniversary production of MISS SAIGON which had recently opened in London. I had never seen the show before (Bad I know!). Literally, I didn't know the story or any of the characters. All I knew was that there were 2 songs in the show called "Why God Why" and "Last Night of the World" and that there was a certain very iconic scene involving a helicopter!

I came out of the Prince Edward Theatre that night having been completely blown away by one of the most epic productions I had ever seen. However, in amongst all of the awe inspiring production that I had just witnessed, there was one particular performance which stood head and shoulders above them all - and it was given by a performer who had been with the show since it first debuted in 1989. He made me laugh, cry, tense, nervous and joyous - and for me that is the mark of an extremely talented individual. This performer is also the main reason I would re-visit the show - he was THAT good!
It is an absolute honour for me to announce that my newest interviewee, from the cast of MISS SAIGON, is the phenomenal JON JON BRIONES (The Engineer)
 
Tell us a little known fact about yourself - something we wouldn't know by looking at you
I studied Electrical Engineering for 5 years until I got cast in Miss Saigon in 1989.

Who or what inspired you to get into the Theatre Industry?
Seeing West Side Story on TV when I was probably 8 years old.

What was the first song/album you ever bought?
Top Gun soundtrack.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Be classy even in defeat.
 

You are currently starring in the 25th Anniversary revival of Miss Saigon. Do you think this production does justice to the iconic original?
I believe this production does it justice and more.

How are you enjoying working with your fellow new cast members?
I'm in love with this cast. It's a privilege to come to work every day.

Do you have a favourite moment in the show? Or maybe a particular song that you love to perform?
I love them all but if I have to choose, it would be If You Want to Die in Bed.

What has been the best moment of your time so far with this version of the show? And what are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
I always love rehearsals - figuring out things and discovering things and the surprises that you encounter when you discover something you didn't 8 years ago. As for the year ahead, I'm looking forward to travelling in Europe with my family.

In 10 words or less, why should people come and see you, along with the fantastic cast at Miss Saigon?
Come on, it's Miss Saigon.

-----     As I said earlier, the new production of Miss Saigon - currently playing at the Prince Edward Theatre in London - is truly a piece of epic theatre brilliance. The whole production, from sets to costumes to scenery and special effects, fits together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. But for me, it is Jon Jon along with the rest of this stellar cast that make this new incarnation of MISS SAIGON an absolute must see! Check out http://www.miss-saigon.com/ for more details, including tickets!

A personal thanks must go to Jon Jon for taking time out of his extremely busy schedule to take part in this interview - I am eternally grateful to you Sir and simply cannot thank you enough.

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx 

ALBUM REVIEW - Katy Treharne's "THINK OF ME"

 
They say you always remember the moments when you encounter someone special in your life. And I can honestly say I have been truly blessed to meet some amazing people, particularly West End performers ever since I have had my little Blog.
But one performer in particular stands out to me - not just for her stunning voice, but for the warmth of her heart and kindness of her spirit.
 
It was August 2012 at Her Majesty's Theatre London. I had just seen Peter Joback perform as the Phantom for the second time (and what would be the final occasion I would see him in the role) and I was waiting at the Stage Door to congratulate him on his performance. But it was not just Peter I was waiting to see, as that was the night that I was first witness to the amazing talent of KATY TREHARNE who, to this day, is one of the best Christines' I have ever seen at "Phantom of the Opera".
 
Fast forward nearly 2 years, and I have been truly blessed to encounter Katy on several occasions both as a performer on stage but also as a supporter of so many wonderful charities - which included the amazing West End has Faith event in April 2013 (as well as the follow up last December). And now, as Katy continues to strive for excellence in all parts of her career - she has now released her debut album, appropriately titled "THINK OF ME."
 
Now to the untrained ear, this album may appear to just contain a series of covers with a very small hint of original material. However, knowing Katy like I do, I can tell you that this album gives you such a personal insight into the passion, pride and enchanting beauty that just exudes from her and spreads to everybody that she encounters. These 11 songs have been meticulously chosen to represent every aspect of Katy's life and career - and that is what makes this album so truly special.
 
From the majestic musical anthems for which she made her name, in the shape of "Think of Me" (Phantom of the Opera) and "I've Never Said I Love You" (Dear World); her proud Welsh roots in "Calon Lan" and her love of Disney (and one of my personal favourites!) in NEWSIES "Watch What Happens"; to her love and passion for her Faith in "Open Heaven" (from new musical Love Beyond) and "Speechless" (originally by one of Katy's favourite artists - Sandi Patty)
 
Add to that a Dan and Laura Curtis original, a timeless Italian ballad, an Ivor Novello classic and hits from SMASH and The Wizard of Oz - and you have one of the most versatile collections you will ever hear by such an enchanting soprano voice.
 
What this diverse collection also proves is that Katy is certainly one of those talented voices who really can sing anything! From up tempo to ballads; love to fear and regret; hope and joy to some of the most passionate musical deliveries you will ever hear. YES - it's all here!
 
This is one collection of songs that needs to be a part of every ones CD collection - songs that will appeal to everybody, no matter who you are or where you are from, delivered by one of the most stunning voices that has ever come out of the UK!
 
TRACK LISTING
Think of Me
I've Never Said I Love You
Open Heaven
Watch What Happens
Speechless
What Love Is For
Calon Lan
O Mio Babbino Caro
My Dearest Dear
Second Hand White Baby Grand
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
 
You can get your own copy of Katy's beautiful album from all good CD/Download providers - I promise you this is one purchase you will NOT REGRET!.

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx


Monday, 21 July 2014

LES MIS vs PHANTOM - Have you got you tickets yet?

(From www.twitter.com)  
One of my highlights of last Summer was my first ever trip to the annual Les Mis vs Phantom Charity Football match. Held at Bromley FC - just outside of central London - it truly was a brilliant day full of fun, laughs, and one fantastic football match contested by teams representing two of the most iconic shows in the West End - all in aid of some amazing  causes.

I am so excited that I will be returning to the event again this year! However, this years event - being held on Sunday 3rd August - will be particularly poignant as event organiser - Christopher Key - explains on the official match website:

"As many of you will know, our inspiration for starting this event, Melanie Oakley-Dow, sadly lost her battle with cancer at the end of last year. She is extremely missed by her family and all who knew her and Les Misérables is not the same without her. We will be playing this years match in her memory, hence our goal in making this years match the best one yet! As well as raising money for Cardiac Risk in the Young, we will also be donating some proceeds from the day to Mel's charities, Macmillan Cancer Research and EllenorLions Hospices."

Events on the day, kicking off at 1pm, include a Family Fun Day - including Game stalls, face painting and a bouncy castle; performances by the stunning Carrie Hope Fletcher and the phenomenal Geronimo Rauch; the epic football clash itself (Kick Off 3pm) as well as half time entertainment including Sapphire Soul and a special performance in memory of Melanie, by the 4 Valjeans!

I can't speak highly enough of this event! I personally guarantee it will be a day to remember - and you will not regret buying a ticket!

Are you convinced yet? I certainly hope so!

You can get your tickets by going online at http://www.lesmisvphantom.co.uk/  You can also follow @lesmisvphantom on Twitter for all the latest updates on the event!

I'm going to be there - and I hope to see all of you there as well!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Saturday, 28 June 2014

My thoughts on the NEW Les Miserables Cast - Class of 2014/15

(Picture from www.ticketmaster.co.uk)
 
Since I first visited the show in January 2012, Les Miserables has become one of my must-see shows whenever I visit the West End. I have been lucky enough to be witness to some phenomenal performances by some amazing talents - Ramin Karimloo, Hadley Fraser, Craig Mather, Danielle Hope, Chris Jacobsen, Geronimo Rauch and Tam Mutu, to name but a few - during my numerous visits to the show.
 
One of the most emotionally charged times in a Les Mis fans calendar each year is early June, and the arrival of the annual Cast Change. Now, anyone that knows me knows how much of an attachment I had to the Cast of 2013/14 - certain members in particular! (And if you don't know - take a read of http://thoughtsofablueeyedgirl.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/les-miserables-cast-change-day-saturday.html) So the imminent arrival of a number of new cast members filled me with much trepidation!
 
Now normally, my first visit to see a new Les Mis cast after a Cast Change occurs in August as, due to my day job as a teacher and the fact I live 150+ miles away from London, I have to wait till my Summer break to fit it in. However, after a close friend sent me the link to a YouTube video of new Valjean Peter Lockyer singing "Bring Him Home", and being totally mesmerised by the beauty of what I was hearing, I knew that this year - my first visit needed to be sooner rather than later.
 
Luckily, due to a work commitment, I ended up being in London - with an evening to spare - just over a week and a half after Cast Change, so after meeting up with one of my wonderful friends, I headed to the Queen's Theatre to see what the newbies had to offer! Now I would be lying if I said my mind hadn't had mixed feelings about going. When you have seen certain performers in a specific role so many times - as was the case with me and several members of the previous cast - the temptation to compare the new performers with their predecessors was extremely strong! However, as I took my seat, I tried my best to keep an open mind!
 
When I came out of that theatre, nearly 3 hours later - I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I haven't been this impressed by a new cast as a whole unit since the cast lead by Geronimo Rauch and Tam Mutu arrived on the Barricades!
 
**The following may contain minor spoilers, so if you would rather not know about new elements of the show, please stop reading now!**
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If an impressive new cast from top to bottom wasn't mind-blowing enough, to see minor changes to the shows plot, staging and some costumes was even more surprising but SO REFRESHING!
 
Now there is no need to panic - this isn't the takeover by the new Broadway production that has divided so many Les Mis fans. In fact, if you hadn't seen the show before - you wouldn't know there was any difference whatsoever. Now for me - this being my 19th visit to the Barricades and also the fact that I was in the centre of the 2nd Row - there were several things that stood out to me: -
 
Valjean no longer wears a wig in the opening sequence. The new look of a shaved head, covered in cuts and bruises is a dramatic change but in my opinion is so much more effective than the wig.
 
The sequence between the Bishop and convict Valjean is so much more heart wrenching, purely by some minor changes to standing positions.
 
Fantine has a new dress/work outfit - a distinctive flowery pattern that has faded, we assume through work, could represent how her bright, effervescent personality has worn away due to her emotionally traumatic experiences.
 
At the start of "The Bargain" - post "Master of the House", the Thenardiers are not the only ones still at the Inn when Valjean arrives with little Cosette (I won't say anymore about this, other than Adam Linstead - you legend!)
 
When Javert first arrives in "Paris" after Thenardier's gang attacks Valjean, Javert immediately helps fallen Valjean stand up without realising who he is.
 
Eponine is involved in the slow motion running to open Act Two - which totally makes sense based on her involvement at the start of the Act into "On My Own." When she delivers Marius' letter to Valjean, he actually removes her hat after calling her a "boy", resulting in her long hair falling free and a shocked look from them both.
 
These were just some of the changes that stood out to me - there were many, many more! But as I am sure you can all see, the original show and story still remains as strong as it ever was, but has been re-energised by even the smallest of changes.
 
This re-energising continues with a number of fantastic new cast members. Before I go on, I should mention my earlier comment about resisting the temptation to compare this cast with their predecessors. I can honestly say there is no way this cast can, or should be, compared to the outgoing cast. They perform with such energy, vibrance and confidence - but are so different (in a good way) to anything or anyone I have seen at Queen's before in my two and a half years of visiting the show.
 
Peter Lockyer (Valjean) is a revelation and is so different to the all of the previous Valjeans I have seen perform. Being so close to the stage and seeing him perform live for the first time ever, you could see by looking his eyes how much belief he had in everything he was saying, singing and doing - and I have no doubt that would have transferred to all parts of the Theatre. He brings such power and confidence to the role and his vocals are just utterly divine. For me, a phenomenal Valjean has to break your heart with "Bring Him Home" - well, let's just say Peter totally obliterated my heart with his version!
 
His partnership with David Thaxton as Javert - another key element of the show for me - is just absolutely brilliant to watch! From their opening introductions, to one of the most powerful and physical Confrontations I have ever seen, to their final showdown, the chemistry between them is absolutely electric! They work so well together and I have no doubt their pairing has the potential to go down as one of the best ever.
 
I must also say about David - I had never actually heard him sing live before this visit to Queens (except at the first ever Off Duty Thursday - which was his own material). As a result of this, I can honestly say he was one of the most impressive elements of the whole evening. A very unique portrayal of Javert, bringing out much of the anger and frustration of the character is not something I have seen in the show before - but I liked it! His version of "Stars" - my favourite song from the whole show and the one moment that any Javert has to stand out to me -  was on point and delivered with amazing precision and such fire. And his facial expression when Gavroche caught him out on the Barricades was sheer brilliance! I really look forward to future visits to see how David develops this character even further.
 
Special mentions must also go to the fantastic Celinde Schoenmaker, returning to the role of Fantine which she originally played for a shorter spell in early 2013, who has grown in power and passion to deliver a faultless performance; and also to new Thenardier Tom Edden who brings a weasel-esque quality to the love him or hate him Inn Keeper, but who nevertheless is one of the funniest elements of the show - and his on stage relationship with QUEEN Wendy Ferguson (Madame Thenardier) is rather awesome! Michael Colbourne (Enjolras) also makes an impressive debut as the Revolutionary leader, particularly excelling in his on-the-Barricade role in Act 2. He is definitely another talent I look forward to seeing develop as the year goes on. The Ensemble - which includes the beautiful Emma Kingston (In the Heights), stunning Jo Loxton (Phantom/Dear World) and legendary Adam Pearce (Light Princess/Sweeney Todd/Love Never Dies) - is also one of the best I have ever seen on the Queen's stage.
 
It is also so wonderful to see all of these "newbies" backed up so brilliantly by so many familiar faces - Carrie Fletcher, Wendy Ferguson, Rob Houchen Simon Shorten, Adam Linstead and Melanie Bright to name a few - who continue to be absolutely astounding in so many ways!
 
All I can end by saying is this - as much as I shall miss the previous cast, and certain members of said cast in particular, it is onwards and upwards for them! And as a Les Mis fan - I am so pleased that this wonderful show has been left in such safe hands.
 
Signing off for now
 
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx