BWW Reviews: LES MISERABLES Sings With Their Hearts Full of Love
Knock 'Em Dead Dinner Theatre, being a dinner theatre, offers the opportunity to eat at the theatre before the performance while being served by an actor or two. It is catered by Sizzler and the menu is different for each show, this show it was bacon wrapped steak for the main dish. How could the meal go wrong? I would like to thank the four ladies going out for some culture, the newlywed couple out on a date (awww) and the couple from Buhl for making the dinner a very pleasant one with some fun conversations.
When dinner was finished we went and sat in the theatre. The set was impressive for the size of the stage. There were many levels for the actors to use and the buildings surrounded a video screen that helped to set the scene changes, opening with a projection of the LES MISERABLES logo, the girl and the French flag.
The director gave us his speech and the show began. The music started and I was worried; it was a recording. Of course it was, where was there room for an orchestra? However, once the singing started I forgot all about the pre-recorded sound. Oh my, the men filled the whole place with their sound, then the entire cast was on stage and the harmonies they created were amazing!
The story follows Jean Valjean played by Christopher J. Brunt, when we meet him he is getting paroled after 20 years for stealing a loaf of bread and then attempting to escape. Javert played by Ben Clegg, is his jailor who believes: once a thief, always a thief. All the villagers shun him. He stays the night in a church and steals the silver. He gets caught and the bishop saves him by allowing him to keep the silver and gives him the candlesticks as well, saying he has bought his [Jean Valjean's] soul for God. He has a moment of conscience and devotes his life from then onward.
Next time we see him, it is 8 years later and he is the mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer and runs a factory. The women in his factory cause a fight and Fantine played by Misty Dawn Taylor, is fired and her life spirals out of control. She gets sick and Jean Valjean realizes his inaction has caused it and he swears to care for Cosette when she [Fantaine] dies. Javert has found Jean Valjean, who skipped parole, and swears to lock him up again. Jean Vljean escapes to care for Cosette.
Nine years pass and we find the male students preparing for the French June Revolution of 1832. Cosette played by Rachel Dickerson, bumps into a student, Marius, played by Brent Jones, and it was love at first sight. That is all I am going to tell you because I do not want to give it away.
There is so much more to this performance and the play. Be warned it is long. The show runs for an hour and a half, has a fifteen minute intermission, and then lasts for about another hour. But it was worth it! To hear Christopher J. Brunt's version of "Bring Him Home" brought tears to many eyes.
I did have a few problems with the production. All of the costumes were too clean (and some character's teeth were too white) with how dirty the make-up was, it created a visual conflict for me. They seemed to have difficulty with the lighting, with so many levels there were some dark spots on the stage and the actors did not always find their light. There were also a few leads who were a bit difficult to hear at times, however this is not take away from the overall performance as all of the voices were wonderful.
The audience was a great participant in how well the production went. It was obvious that there was give and take. The audience was with the cast every step of the way.
All in all, the night was amazing!
Photo Credits: taken by Shana Campbell
Top Photo: Ben Barrus, Bea Eichmann Allen, Olivia Klassen, and Christopher Brunt
Bottom Photo: Misty Dawn Taylor and Christopher Brunt
LES MISERABLES is being performed at Knock 'Em Dead Dinner Theatre at 415 E Parkcenter Boulevard, Boise, ID. The perfomances run currently Thursdays through Saturdays and closes on November 2, 2013. Please visit their website for tickets or more infomation http://www.kedproductions.org/index.php