Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & playwright (21 plays). Pub. Currency Press. Teacher Scriptwriting since 2019, Melb Polytechnic; Worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation, Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Former Coordinator of Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer doesn't always work on blog.
MUSICAL THEATRE Music & book by
Claude-Michel Schönberg, book by Alain Boublil, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer By
Young Australian Broadway Chorus At National Theatre, St. Kilda, until Jan 27, 2019 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***1/2
This review also published in Herald Sun on Tues 22 Jan 2019. By the way, I'm back on deck after a hiatus. KH
production of Les Misérables by Young
Australian Broadway Chorus may have a youthful cast, but their enthusiasm is
contagious and the show entertaining, vivacious and often moving.
Coates’ direction takes advantage of the enormous ensemble of young singers,
filling the stage with milling crowd scenes and rousing choruses of the soaring
tunes from this renowned musical by Claude-Michel
Schönberg (music & book), Alain Boublil (book) and Herbert Kretzmer
Misérables, based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel, is set in the early decades of 19th
century France, ending in Paris after the tragedy of the failed1832 Paris Uprising.
lead performers are capable actor-singers, but several give standout
performances. Bryce Gibson plays the key role of Jean Valjean, the former
convict, now gentleman, pursued relentlessly for decades by his nemesis, the
policeman, Javert, played by Nicholas Sheppard.
and Sheppard may lack the years and gravitas usually required for these ageing
rivals, but their commitment is unquestionable. Gibson’s renditions of Who Am
I? and Bring Him Home are powerful and heartfelt while Sheppard makes a noble
tragedy of the song and scene of Javert’s suicide.
Race-Coldrey is charismatic as Enjolras, leader of the student revolt, and,
with his fine vocal tone, he effectively leads the ensemble in the stirring chorus
of the anthemic song, Do You Hear the People Sing?
The rich-voiced Rhea
Brendish makes a fine Eponine, Jasmine Arthur’s bright soprano is suited to Cosette
who falls in love with Ben Gonsalvez’s
rather goofy Marius, while Emily
Svarnias breaks hearts as Fantine, singing the heart-wrenching I Dreamed A
talented, youthful orchestra skilfully delivers the thrilling music that underscores
the spirited, massed choruses and makes this production of Les Miz a musical
treat that may be the starting point for a few professional musical theatre