I’ll admit it. I haven’t been this excited for a series in a while. Sure reviewing things like Free! can be a lot of fun, there’s already a massively hyped up fanbase for both so I really became tired of … Continue reading
I decided to take a history course on the Holocaust this yea r and after seeing how the Kill la Kill world is structured, it vastly amuses me that fascist ideologies and concepts from literature such as that of the … Continue reading
During my Thanksgiving weekend, amidst family greetings, family friend mingles and midterm studies, I’m fortunate to say that I had the utmost pleasure to see Cameron Mackintosh’s version of Boubil & Schönberg’s classic Les Misérables performed on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre in downtown Toronto. It really made my weekend. (Your turkey was good too, Uncle Ray)
“Look down and show some mercy if you can. Look down, look down upon your fellow man.” (Beggars on the streets)
By now, thanks to the release of the Hollywood movie in 2012, those who were originally unfamiliar with the story have probably come into contact with some of the music or have a general idea of what the plot entails. Les Misérables is one of those stories you never tire of. It has something for everyone, history lovers, diehard romantics, and Broadway fans. In productions like Les Misérables, no excessive dialogue is necessary, the entire story is portrayed through song and lyric, much of the score repeated to evoke nostalgia for certain parts early in the story reiterated in latter moments.
Though the Princess of Wales Theatre, located on 300 King Street West is one of the older playhouses of downtown Toronto. It seats 2000 at a time and the last time I was there, I saw the Sound of Music. This time, the scenery was definitely more complicated to convey, ranging from the ship on the seas where Jean Valjean first labours, to the impoverished streets of 18th century France and of course, the infamous barricade. Despite the size of the stage, which is deeper than it is wide, I was thoroughly impressed with the lighting and stage direction of the characters and set. Transitions were incredibly smooth and quick. If you hold a minimal suspension of belief that theatre usually demands of you, you barely notice the changes and the story just flows from one setting to the next much like the camera shots in film.
The most amazing moment of stage effects must be during Javert’s suicide on top of a balcony above the rushing waters. I really expected him to jump into an open trap door on the stage, however, to my surprise and delight, the motions of his fall was recreated with ingenious manipulation of lights and the special effects of the animated backgrounds. He jumped and fell. I didn’t even see the performer exit the stage, not a glimpse of him sneaking off the stage at all!
“At the end of the day you’re another day colder, and the shirt on your back doesn’t keep out the chill.” (Beggars on the streets)
Costume design was really stunning and since it’s the characters that leave the longest impressions on us, costume is a big factor on how memorable they become in our minds. In my opinion, the skill of the costume designer isn’t one who creates the most elaborate and beautiful costumes for the main characters, but how much detail is found in the wardrobe of the supporting cast. It’s easy to spend twenty+ hours on Fantine, Valjean, Javert or Marius but it’s the outfits of the chorus and the miscellaneous characters that I always scrutinize… seriously, how many “simple” peasant outfits can you make and how many colours are you allowed? The supporting characters need to look individually different but aren’t allowed to overshadow the main cast aesthetically speaking and despite looking different, there should be a similar colour palette and theme throughout their wardrobe so when they stand together, they seem like a collective unit.
“And remember, the truth that once was spoken… To love another person is to see the face of god.” (The Epilogue)
Overall, I felt that the cast definitely possessed enough chemistry to render the story believable. Javert is always one of my favourite characters because of his sudden and rather shocking inner struggle and change after his encounters with Valjean. I loved Javert and Valjean as foils to each other especially in their encounters at the Barricade. Javert is always one of my favourite characters because it is as if his entire being encompasses the values of autocratic law-abiding values of the past and he serves to juxtapose the revolutionary ideologies of the Enlightenment.
As always, I’m a fan of Marius and Cosette. (Being the sappy Romeo and Juliet fan that I am) Having Marius climb atop the gate to sing to Cosette standing on her balcony completely melted my heart but the most heart-wrenching moment has to be Eponine’s death in Marius’s arms. It’s hard to fake a death. I know.
Everyone around me was crying by the time the Barricade was dismantled but I hit my breaking point at “Empty Chairs and Empty tables” with Marius. I was especially moved when the candles that were originally set on the stage by the women in “Turning,” were taken by the men of the Barricade, reappearing in the memories of Marius who each extinguish a candle, leaving Marius with the sole remaining light on the stage.
“In my life, there are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a faraway song.” – Cosette
Theatre and Audience: 5/5 happy cloudsLes Misérables wasn’t my first stage production, and I’m immensely grateful for the disclaimer on the tickets site that warns parents to keep their kids quiet, well-behaved or away from the theatre. Okay, they made it sound nicer on the site but that’s really what they mean. I have personally attended a show surrounded by families with crying kids, babbling toddlers and screaming six year olds. It’s. Not. Pleasant. At. All. And if I’m paying almost a hundred dollars for my ticket, I deserve to a show without any disruptions. The atmosphere was courteous and sophisticated which I really enjoyed. Everyone kept silent when they were expected to be silent and clapped when they were expected to clap… Now, this is just a personal pet peeve of mine, but don’t sing along in the theatre. I have an intense urge to sing as well, but people around you have paid to hear the people on stage sing, not you. Be respectful in the theatre. Mind your etiquette.
If you’re a big Broadway buff and around the Toronto area, you should definitely check out the show. As of today, it’s still running and if you’ve already seen it, it’s worth seeing twice. If I wasn’t away in University, I would even go re-watch it again.
As well, there’s a ton of Les Mis merchandise available in the lobby after the show. Even though I know that merchandise is a ploy to get more money out of the audience, some of things they have are a real treat for fans of the story. You can even get a t-shirt with 24601 printed across the chest! Here are some of the things I purchased…
I hope you guys enjoyed this review. It’s not every week that I get to see such a spectacular production and my wallet never agrees with me when I venture into the world of theatre. Thank you for reading!
What are you pondering today?
Are youmu just monsters? Or can they be considered part of the reasonable category of mammels that humans belong to? In this episode, all the Spirit Warriors of the town are preparing for the arrival of the Hollow Shadow. Spirit … Continue reading
GUYS AND GIRLS! FANS OF SLICE OF LIFE! Last night I decided to check out Super Seiyun brothers because I had the episodes downloaded but hadn’t gotten around to them yet. I’m so sorry I put it off. Super Seiyun … Continue reading
Best part of this episode was KyotoAni’s style of choreography in the action scenes when Mirai is hunting the youmu. I guess animating blood isn’t too off from animating water. Other than that, not much happens, but I can’t help … Continue reading
THANK THE GOOD GODS OF ANIME for giving us a video game themed series that has some depth and characters who are actually three-dimensional with individual personalities and their own histories. From what we can discern from the first two … Continue reading
HAPPY CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!!! I hope you guys are having a great time at home or having a great weekend wherever you are.
First of all, I would like to say hajimemashite to some of my new followers. Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu!
I’m really looking forward to what you guys have to say and I’m really eager to hear your thoughts on the new anime series this fall. If you haven’t already done, please check out the latest news tab and let me know what you’re watching in the poll, if you feel so inclined, because the results of the poll will determine what I continue following on the blog this season.
Coming Up Soon…
A review of Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Les Miserables, story originally by Victory Hugo, and shown at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
A review of the Butterfly Lovers by the Shanghai Ballet company at the Living Arts Centre.
Happy Marriage?! Volume 2 Review
Dawn of the Arcana Volume 11 – The Story Thus Far Thoughts
Nisekoi Volume 1 Impressions Review
I have midterms. And it sucks. But because each of my exams are lined up one after the other with an essay due on the Monday next week, I won’t be able to post many anime reviews and screenshots. Instead, there will be more Out of the box features and short quickie rants. Also, if you guys are ever looking for older Cloudy Says posts, they can all be found in the category of the uncategorized or through the search bar.
Hope you guys have a great week!
What are you pondering today?
Hi guys! Hope you guys are having a great Thanksgiving weekend with family (if you’re in Canada). Just wanted to do a light feature review today cause I’ve got a lot of family stuff going on. I ordered with one of my otome friends in Kingston because one of the best ways to get around any sort of shipping fees is to make big purchases with friends. Since I’m a huge Tokiya Ichinose fan, I had to get the T, with his lyrics in Magi Love 2000% “I feel you,” inscribed on it. I got the Tokiya passcase out of both fandom and need because I finally have a place to put my student card!! Tokiya is so pensive and adorable >////< The Piyo pouch is my friend’s. It was around 15 dollars (not including shipping) and I think it was really worth the price because it’s as big as my face! (If you stuffed it with cotton balls, it could probably become a plushie, no joke)
What are you pondering today?
Most hilarious anime this season! I kid you not, my first reaction after the credits started rolling was “THIS IS AWESOME! WHY AREN’T THERE MORE CREATIVE ANIMES LIKE THIS?!?!” And then… my fangirl quieted and was replaced by the logical reviewer. But … Continue reading