Les Misérables is more than a show – it’s a theatrical experience. And so it proved once again on its triumphant return to the Liverpool Empire.
Not even Covid and all that the pandemic brings – masks et al for the audience - can dilute what a truly great ‘musical’ Les Mis is.
But to simply call it a musical is to do this record breaking ‘show’ a disservice. It’s much, much more.
Add to the winning formula a lead role played by a West End star who hails from our neck of the woods, Newburgh in neighbouring West Lancs, and the experience just gets better.
Dean Chisnall as Jean Valjean wowed the Liverpool crowd with a truly memorable performance.
It’s hard to believe that just months ago, Dean had to get a job as a delivery driver for Tesco as the pandemic struck the theatre world hard.
Well, Dean is back doing what he does best and he certainly delivered big time at the Empire – bringing home the goods to a rapturous audience who lapped up his offerings of Les Misérables biggest numbers – ‘Bring Him Home’ and ‘Who Am I’. It’s as good as it gets – and all from a stage star we can call our very own.
Dean understandably looked emotional as he and the cast took the obligatory standing ovation, peering out to the packed rows from the stage to see if he could spot family and friends from his home village. They (and Dean) will have been immensely proud of what the boy from Newburgh has achieved as thunderous applause rang out around the theatre
Dean was ably supported by a terrific Ian Hughes as the hugely entertaining Thenardier and the quite brilliant Nic Greenshields as Javert.
Javert’s demise when he throws himself off a bridge was hugely spectacular and a real credit to the special effects team in this new tour of Les Mis. Special mention also to highly impressive LIPA student Will Callan, who played Marius. Will, straight out of college, is making his professional debut in Les Misérables. Not a bad place to start!
Les Misérables is, of course, the stage version of Victor Hugo’s great 19th century novel and set during a period of great social and political unrest in France. It’s set all manner of records and judging by this performance, there are plenty of records still to be broken.
Les Mis runs at the Liverpool Empire until January 22.
10/10 – Stunning as ever. Could it be anything other!