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Sharie Webber from Dunstable, Massachusetts
LES MIS BOSTON 2019
I rarely make any negative public reviews of shows having been part of the theater world myself in the past, but I must say I was so VERY disappointed overall. Other than Jean Valjean, (who gave one of the VERY best theatrical performances I've EVER seen) , there were a number of issues & production choices that truly effected the show the biggest being the pace at which the performers acted. For most of the production it was impossible to understand what was being due to speed. Even with it being my 5th time seeing this live (my daughters first, knows the plot very well from the movie) we found ourselves reaching to find what was being said. Actors who were dying on stage seemed more focused on gasps of breath to show they were dying vs being immersed in the moment Lighting was also terrible (we were only 18 rows back & couldn't see most of the show believe it was a production choice not tech). Very little emotion, connection from actors elicited no emotion from the audience.
Mike from Boston, Massachusetts
GOOD, NOT GREAT
This is my 4th performance, Toronto (1989), London (2012, 2014). Not the best of the 4. The performers are all talented, sadly they sung almost every song at a pace a beat or two faster than any of the previous performances I've seen as if they had someplace else to be and needed to get this done. So whomever is coaching/directing these very talented performers didn't slow them down, and maybe felt like an up tempo rendition was overdue. Many of the songs lyrics weren't even clear or understandable and I've listened to many renditions literally hundreds of times. Too bad, I hope these performers get better direction as they hone their careers.
Susanna from Knoxville, Tennessee
I have seen many other plays in various locations, including New York and London, but this was the first time I have been to Les Miserables. While I knew a little of the story line and music prior to the performance, I was unfamiliar with the plot. The music was beautiful, but I found it very difficult to follow because I could not understand the words the performers were singing. I wanted to leave at intermission, but we had paid top dollar. We were sitting close to the front, but I still could not see the singers at times because they some of them crawled on the floor as they sang, which I found very unusual. I would recommend anyone seeing this play for the first time watch the movie ahead of time.
Mark R. from Austin, Texas
TECHNICAL SHORTCOMINGS UNDERMINE THE PERFORMANCE
Les Miserables is my favorite musical and I had high expectations for this production at Bass Concert Hall in Austin on 9/10/19. While it was opening night and some things may not have been "dialed in" and worked out, the production value was not on par with any Broadway Across America show I've seen here. Scenery and lighting were so dark that the cast might as well have been performing on an empty stage. Many wonderful effects lost and wasted. The live music was wonderfully performed but was drowning out all of the song lyrics. Every number was rushed, with the words quite difficult to hear and understand (and these are songs I know and love). Had I not seen the musical live, or seen the motion picture version of the musical, I am quite certain that I would not have a clue about the story line or anything going on with any of the characters. I was very disappointed, so disappointed in fact, that I wrote this review during the intermission. Finally, despite the house policies, Bass Concert Hall was allowing a significant number of people to enter and exit the theater throughout the performance. It was completely distracting, especially given the compromised lighting and sound. And the ushers and their flashlights were a significant part of the problem. If you see this show on another night I hope it is improved. It was truly as though there had been no pre-show run through at all. Missed spotlights and terrible sound reinforcement. Standout performances from little Cosette, Cosette, and Marius. A let down from the other leading roles. This production of Les Miserables was WAY MISERABLE and unfortunately a good deal of the let down seems to be from the venue.
Pete Masters from Austin, Texas
DON’T UNDERSTAND THE HYPE
Having never seen this show before I had let the hype falsely set expectations. The music was good, the actors were difficult to understand, and what I could make out of the story was uninteresting. If you already know the ropes to this musical I suppose it would be enjoyable (the woman next to me hummed the whole thing). Disappointed in it, but maybe it’s a shortcoming if mine. Wouldn’t recommend
Debbie Brink from Austin, Texas
I’ve seen Les Mis in NYC, London, and here in Austin years ago previously. I didn’t expect this performance to be as good as the others, and I was still disappointed. The two main male characters rushed their lyrics to the point of not being understandable or on the beat. The actress playing Fontaine sang what should have been the most beautiful song of the show so softly that it fell flat. Frequently the orchestra drowned out the singers’ voices. That being said, the talent of all of the performers certainly seemed ample. It was the direction that was lacking.
Frustrated from Austin, Texas
TERRIBLE SOUND & LIGHTING
Impossible to understand the singers bc orchestra was too loud and singers were not enunciating. Lighting was much too dark. I knew what was happening bc I've seen it many times on Broadway, but my poor husband was lost. Solos were mostly excellent. Also tempo was sometimes off in non-solo singing, and sometimes notes were changed or not hit. Very disappointing especially for the cost of the tickets. Javert and JVJ were excellent but often unintelligible. Eponine's solo was magnificent, but much of her singing before then was off and her voice was all wrong.
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