There are a zillion high school productions of Les Mis on Youtube and frankly, almost none of them are any good (and some are downright wretched - Blacklick Valley High, for instance). Most of them are indifferent at best and I've only found two that are really outstanding - Lincoln High School (hereafter referred to as LHS for brevity) and RGS High (which I shall call RGS for the rest of this post). And of the two, RGS is the best. The production values are outstanding, all the performers are amazing (with the exception of Marius) and the orchestra is really, really good. Since it is so good, I decided to review it. I just can't keep it all to myself :)
Oh, and another thing. It's a British production. Which may or may not have something to do with how good it is. I'll let you decide.
I'm going to do a quick assessment of all the characters and then move on to songs and randomness. Valjean is good (although LHS is still better). Javert is THE best high school Javert I have ever seen. I mean, Javert's Suicide is amazing. Fantine is great. I think she should have shown a little more emotion during I Dreamed A Dream but her voice is phenomenal and she basically nails everything else. Marius is meh. Sadly. I've never seen a really good high school Marius. Enjolras is just...wow. He doesn't wear the Red Vest of Power & Awesomeness until One Day More, but I doesn't really detract from anything (much). Eponine is outstanding - great voice, great acting, etc. Cosette is really good. Her accent is so thick that at first I thought she had a speech impediment :) I'm pretty sure she's Welsh (I'm thinking Enjolras is too).
Gavroche is one of the best I've ever seen. And you know what I think one of the best things about the whole production is? GAVROCHE HAS MINIONS. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? Seriously, he's got four or five boys that are always with him. And they agree with him about everything. Like when he's singing "That inspector thinks he's something..." It's great.
|This was hilarious. Gav is the smallest one right in the front.|
About the songs...
The ensemble for At the End of the Day was great and one thing that I liked about the ensemble for Look Down (Beggars) was that they sounded angry. In almost every high school production I've watched, they just sound bored (even LHS). One Day More was epic. I liked Drink With Me but I like LHS's version better - it's probably because of Grantaire. The way he sings his part in LHS is almost as good as Hadley. Speaking of Grantaire...the heartless production director did the Grantaire/Gavroche friendship along with Grantaire's reaction to Gavroche's death. It was really sad. Of course.
I really liked Combeferre and how the guy who played him was so in character. He always carried a book around and he comforted Marius after Eponine's death (ALFOR was heartbreaking. Just saying.) and Grantaire after Gavroche's death. And the other students were good too (although none really stood out like Enjo, Ferre and R).
Go watch it on Youtube. Right now. And then come back and tell me what you thought.