After falling in love with the musical about 4 years ago, I waited for the moment when Les Miserables would finally come to Manila to showcase its marvelous beauty. Luckily, it was announced late last year that the Australian production would be coming to the country + imports from the other productions of Les Mis, such as Earl Carpenter from New York to play Javert, and our very own Rachelle Ann Go to play Fantine. I was really happy to be able to watch the April 1 show at 8 pm in the Solaire Theatre.
My family and I checked in at Solaire on the afternoon of April 1 and I took the time to check out the venue and the lobby while the matinee show of Les Mis was going on. I was greeted by this large poster of Les Mis as well as the list of the current cast who would be performing the roles for that day. I sighed in relief as I saw that the original cast would be on my show, since I heard in the previous days that cast members were getting sick, notably Rachelle Ann Go, who skipped some shows that week due to issues with her voice. Luckily, I was able to watch her!
At around 7:30 pm, the theater was slowly being filled uo by the audience. My mom (who was my musical date!!) and I went inside and an usher escorted us to our seats. I remember tearing uo because I didn’t expect our seats to be that near!! When I booked the tickets online, I recall picking the 6th or 7th row but to my surprise, we were at the 4th and it filled me with so much excitement because I would be able to witness this incredible musical just a few feet away.
And finally, the first few beats of the first song was played by the magnificent orchestra (Fun fact: the orchestra can be found under the stage!!), and the iconic Les Mis story took place. Jean Valjean (Simon Gleeson) aka Prisoner 24601 was sentenced to prison for stealing a loaf of bread but decided to change his ways so he broke his parole. Javert (Earl Carpenter), an officer, dedicated his life to hunting down Valjean. Few years later, Valjean meets Fantine (Rachelle Ann Go), a single mother who turned to prostitution to care for her daughter Cosette (Emily Langridge). More stories unfold as we see Fantine suffer, Cosette be taken in by Valjean and fall in love with Marius (Paul Wilkins), and Eponine’s (Kerrie Anne Greenland) unrequited love.
Now for my review! It was absolutely breathtaking. The stage set was really magnificent and it all fit for the play. It also used a lot of screen graphics which made the musical modern despite the early setting of the story. For the actors, standing ovations for Simon Gleeson, Earl Carpenter, Kerrie Anne Greenland and of course Rachelle Ann Go! I really felt Simon’s every song and it really came from the depth of his emotions. Earl was fantastic in his role as Javert, and it made me drawn to the character even more! (Since I found Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Javert in the movie a little bland). Kerrie Anne Greenland was hands down the star of the show. She was amazing as Eponine and her rendition of On My Own brought me to tears. Best version of the song I have heard so far. And of course, Rachelle made me proud as someone with Filipino blood is reigning the theater stage! Her performance was fantastic as well.
Overall, I was really happy after watching (despite the miserable tragic theme) and I really hope that you guys can still catch the show! Les Mis’ last performance in Manila is on May 1, so you still have time to grab some tickets!