‘Les Misérables’ was enchanting.
A performance of ‘Les Misérables’ by Toowoomba Choral Society took place at the Empire Theatre on Thursday night, showcasing Claude-Michel Schönberg’s adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel.
‘Les Misérables’ narrates a story of redemption, love, and sacrifice within the context of post-revolutionary France. The central plot revolves around Jean Valjean, an ex-convict seeking redemption, and his relentless pursuer, Inspector Javert. The narrative unfolds against a backdrop of social injustice and the June Rebellion of 1832, intertwining the lives of various characters navigating a world marked by poverty and inequality.
The production effectively explored enduring themes of love, sacrifice, and the relentless pursuit of justice. It also addressed issues related to poverty, class disparities, and the dehumanizing effects of a rigid social hierarchy. These thematic elements clearly resonated with the audience, underscoring the ongoing relevance of Hugo’s work to contemporary society.
From a technical and aesthetic perspective, the production demonstrated remarkable proficiency. The set design meticulously recreated 19th-century France, encompassing the bustling streets of Paris and the grim prison environment. Skillful use of lighting and sound design enriched the atmosphere, heightening the emotional impact of each scene.
Costume design exhibited exceptional attention to detail, capturing the essence of each character and the historical period with precision. Quick costume changes and period-appropriate attire contributed to the authenticity of the performance.
The orchestra, under the direction of a talented conductor, Nerida Eekert, flawlessly executed the emotionally charged score. Live music added depth and intensity, enhancing the overall experience for the audience.
Credit is due to the director, Martin Paroz and producer, Jo Tooley for their meticulous attention to detail and their ability to translate their vision into a coherent production, from staging to casting choices.
The cast delivered commendable performances. The portrayal of Jean Valjean, portrayed by Brad Kendrick, showcased remarkable depth and empathy, effectively conveying the character’s evolution from a hardened ex-convict to a man of compassion and honour. Inspector Javert, portrayed by Jon Maskell, conveyed the inner turmoil of a man driven by an unwavering sense of duty.
Supporting roles, including the endearing innkeepers, the tragic Fantine, and the spirited Eponine, all delivered strong performances that resonated with the audience. The ensemble cast, comprising impoverished Parisian citizens and revolutionary students, added layers of depth through harmonious voices and passionate portrayals.
Notably, the vocal performances throughout the play were outstanding, with the cast effectively conveying the emotional depth of their characters through song, leaving the audience impressed.
Toowoomba Choral Society’s production of ‘Les Misérables’ at the Empire Theatre offered a well-executed rendition of Victor Hugo’s timeless masterpiece. The production’s technical prowess, attention to detail, and strong performances across the cast contributed to a memorable theatrical experience. The themes explored, while powerful, were presented with a balanced and engaging approach, making this production accessible to a wide audience.
‘Les Misérables’ performed until Saturday, 9th September 2023 at Empire Theatres. For more information visit the Toowoomba Choral Society website.