Les Miserables - School Edition - Musical ☆☆☆☆☆5

Showing from - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 through till Friday, July 8, 2016

Derby Theatre - Derby

Ollie Turner | Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Les Miserables - School Edition reviewed by Ollie Turner on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 for Downstage CentreDon't look 'em in the eye: Creatio Arts' production of 'Les Miserables - School Edition' at the Derby Theatre this week (Photos by Chris Clarke)

I can honestly say that Les Miserables was one of my least favourite youth production shows - solely because as a majority few young people can fully understand the emotions of the characters in the show and often fail to give a truly moving portrayal of them.


However, Creatio Youth absolutely nailed it! The show had so many new elements that I had not seen within the piece beforehand- each being handled and performed with the utmost professionalism making the next bit of where to start even harder.

Nic Gordon and Paddy Stafford both have strong, moving voices that are simply heart-breaking 

Firstly, let’s start with the director, Matt Powell. When I saw the opening shipyard scene, I knew that he had aced it. He should be ridiculously proud of this production and the entire cast involved- as it is honestly the greatest amateur productions I have ever seen, and I know that I am not the only one to think that either. 


Next is his outstanding production team that carried the piece so beautifully well throughout. Charli Richardson-Astle, who added beautiful flares of dance throughout which helped set the scenes. Lucy Young, the stage manager, should take huge amounts of pride in all of her crew and the direction given to them. The scene changes were of ease due to the production being performed on a revolve (or at least it looked that way, being a previous SM- I know they definitely were not). Finally of the production team, Sam Griffiths- the Musical Director. Tonight Sam has raised the bar for all Musical Directors out there and for that he should take great pride.


Courageous Move

Now the actors. Zak Charlesworth played Jean Valjean in an excellent manner that made the final few scenes even more moving. He has a stunning voice that often gave me shivers, his acting ability created a silence amongst the audience right from his entrance to the stage as we focussed on what the next courageous move from Valjean will be. 


Lizzy Ives has, as Fantine, the most heart-breaking character within the entire piece in my opinion. She handles the role beautifully and with a stunning voice that broke my heart at times as I truly felt for the character and believed her entirely.


The Thenardiers are some of my favourite characters within any musical. Ever. Tonight, even more so, as Grace Orgill and Alex Dickenson absolutely smashed their roles as they were comically and disgustingly engaging every time they came on stage.undefined

Nic Gordon’s Marius is at first seen as a strong individual that fights in favour of the proletariat in Paris alongside Paddy Stafford’s character Enjolras. The two work perfectly together on stage as they show the clear friendship and common goal that bind the two characters. Both have strong, moving voices that are simply heart-breaking, especially in ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’. But, whilst we see that Marius has a strong attitude, we are given a clear contrast as we see his devotion and love towards Cossette, which was incredibly portrayed by Hope Redfern. Their song- ‘A Heart Full of Love’, brought a tear to my eye as it was so outstandingly soft and gentle. The connection between the two characters felt real, adding to the recurring theme of love within the piece.



Georgie Bond’s portrayal of Eponine was enough to bring a person to tears. She fully understood the character and the situation that she was in. She is an extremely talented actress and is exactly the right person for the part, with her stunning voice and her beautiful acting ability she is an individual born for the stage and will go very far.



Finally Ryan Wiggins. In all seriousness, Javert is a part I have seldom seen played with the correct mannerisms. This character is seen to be absolutely devoted to one cause and spends his life trying to catch Valjean, which is later seen as an act completely against his beliefs. Ryan got it. He seemed to know exactly how to express the devotion to Valjean and his capture. ‘Stars’ is a song that expresses his inner emotions and Ryan sang it with such passion and grace I felt that my favourite song in the production (and one of my favourites in the whole of musical theatre), was treated with the care it deserves. His acting ability is second to none. Fantastic work, you knocked my socks off!



If it was possible to give this production more than 5 stars- I would! Well done to all cast and crew in what was the most outstanding piece of amateur theatre I have ever seen! You all deserved the standing ovation at the end of act one and act two. I encourage people to see this production, even if only to see the staging, props and costume as all were outstanding.


PS. Where do I get a Javert hat?


Production Information

Theatre: Derby Theatre

Showing Until: Friday, July 8, 2016

Production Company: Creatio Arts

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