BWW Reviews: ISF's LES MISERABLES Is Full Of Les Talent Merveilleux
Ah, theatre in the great outdoors in the Treasure Valley. The evening that I saw LES MISERABLES at Idaho Shakespeare Festival, the heat at 7:30pm was 98 degrees. The Fools Squad even made a few comments about how it was too hot for the audience to laugh at the jokes during the green show. And boy, it was hot.
It is a different experience when an outdoor theatre begins a show than when a show begins indoors. Sometimes it can take getting used to. The lights dim, but it is still light out so you may not even notice that the lights have changed and the actors step out, the show begins.
LES MISERABLES is a musical that starts with a powerful song by the prisoners. The way that the director, Victoria Bussert began the production gave the impression that the story that you were about to hear was a remembrance of Jean Valjean's life. I think when that happens, sometimes you pay more attention so you won't miss something important.
The voices, which in my opinion are the focus of this musical, were wonderful to listen to. Each voice was well matched to the part and blended well together. Many of the actors were double cast from act one to act two and it works. Jean Valjean, Stephen Mitchell Brown has a rich tone and is believable as the strongest man with the gentlest heart that is 24601. Brian Sutherland presents us with a conflicted Javier with a strong voice who made a good counter for Jean Valjean.
The women in this production made me cry, in a good way - I cried with them. All of the females, including: Fantaine- Jodi Dominick, Young Cosette- Annabel Kotek (Reilly Ramos), Éponine- Keri Fuller, and cast (Madame Thénardier- Tracee Patterson was good but didn't make me cry, she wasn't supposed to either)
I have seen LES MISERABLES many times and I know the story, nothing came as a surprise plotwise. However, the emotion and talent of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival's cast took me with them on a journey I was not expecting. I was crying from the highly emotional delivery of a familiar story.
If you love musicals, you should venture to Idaho Shakespeare Festival for their version of LES MISERABLES. The night starts hot, but ends on a high note.