On Tuesday night, I took Friend Who Knows Big Words to see Les Miserables for her 30th birthday and one the whole, it was brilliant.
Friend Who Knows Big Words is also a friend who reads big books and naturally she has read Les Miserables – unlike the entire rest of the audience – so was intrigued to see how true it was to the storyline. And it turns out, she was impressed – although at the interval she said that at this point, the book only had about 300 pages of the 1,500+ left to go and thought it was the end!
Regular readers will know that due to the fact that there wasn’t a subtitled performance until later on in the year, the lovely theatre peeps gave me a discount on the premium tickets so we could sit near enough that I could lipread a little, so there we were, three rows from the front, bang in the middle. And actually, while this was excellent for lipreading, I did get a bit of a crick in my neck after a while, as we were so close I was looking up a lot of the time.
What FWKBW and I hadn’t bargained on was there being a teenage heartthrob in the cast though – none other than erm… someone called Nick Jonas, who is apparently very famous and very popular with the ladies. I only know about him as one of my Superdrug mates, Holly, loves this Jonas and his brothers and wrote about them quite a lot last summer.
Anyway, this meant that over 50% of the audience was made up of teenage girls, all eager to get a glimpse of their idol – there was one at the front who spent the entire show gripping the orchestra pit barrier in anticipation, and when Mr Jonas made his first appearance on stage, the girl to our left, leapt out of seat and was on the cusp of screaming until she caught the daggered looks from FWKBW and me, and thought better of it.
So what of the performance? Well, having seen Les Mis quite a few times – people always seem to want to go with me, wonder if it’s the cheap tickets?! – it was good…
But it wasn’t excellent.
It’s not that I can fault Mr Jonas specifically, but I just didn’t find him very believable as the character of Marius – perhaps because I was aware that everyone around me was giving off lust hormones for Nick Jonas and not Marius so therefore it was hard to get into the swing of things.
But the important thing was, especially as it was her birthday present, was that FWKBW didn’t even know who Nick Jonas was, so she was blissfully engrossed in the story, filling me in on things in the book that weren’t mentioned or were just touched on briefly, and humouring my little cry when good old Valjean pegs it at the end.
But actually, it was the end that also had me crawling under my seat with embarrassment because by then the girl to our left could hardly contain herself and when Mr Jonas took to the stage to bow, she left her seat in one swift move and screamed at a frequency that thankfully I couldn’t hear. But what I could hear, through the wild applause was FWKBW declare loudly, ‘Oh my god, shoot her now!’ in reference to the mad screaming Jonas fan.
At this point I also kinda felt sorry for the other cast members, who let’s face it, do exactly the same job as Mr Jonas, only better, and none of them have girls hyperventilating over them on a nightly basis.
All-in-all, I think I’ve reached the conclusion, that should I go and see it again – and you can guarantee I will as one of my friends will want to go on the cheap – I will make sure there are absolutely NO celebrities in it.
Just hard-working West End stars…
Maybe that way, I will actually get to focus on the performance rather than try and block out the barrage of teenage hormones that will inevitable invade the auditorium.