This afternoon totally blew me away! It wasn’t the fact that this was my 29th time seeing Les Mis. It was something else.
My niece has been on at me for a while to take her. For those that don’t know, she is on the autistic spectrum and finds certain situations very difficult, especially anything with crowds or new places. She goes to drama school which helps her a lot with confidence etc. and she absolutely loves theatre. Even though she was excited she was also very nervous. I had spoken to her about the trip prior to this as had my brother. I also contacted the theatre in advance to let them know.
It was them that blew me away! From the moment I emailed everything just fell into place. I received a phone call yesterday confirming they had things in place to help and they advised me of the procedure.
We arrived early and collected our tickets- they allowed me to book the seats normally reserved for wheelchairs which was good as it wasn’t in with the main audience. It was a little box to the side. Within 5 minutes, Nick, the theatre manager came to collect us. He took us to a little waiting area and introduced us to some other staff. He then offered us refreshments. Nick then spoke directly to Jess and told her everything that was about to happen. From the staff roll call, setting up of the kiosks, everything! He also told her that during the briefing, all staff would be told about her and to look after her (this did happen as the staff were all great at checking in and seeing how she was). Then he asked Jess if she had any questions and afterwards sat and chatted about nothing in particular to help her stay calm. We also had access to the disabled loo so she would not have to encounter any crowds there, and a quiet room in case everything gets too much- the quiet room has comfy chairs and a large TV show so you can watch the rest of the show if need be. Then he handed us over to our own liaison person who escorted us to our seats early, just before general admission. This let Jess get acquainted with her environment. Both him and the manager checked in on us regularly.
Afterwards, she managed to meet a few of the cast at the stage door who were equally amazing! A massive thank you to everyone at The Queen’s Theatre, you are awesome!
A couple of the principle cast have recently changed and at the last minute I managed to get a seat in my favourite spot (Loge 1 or 2 if you are interested!) so I headed off to the Queens Theatre!
My two favourite characters are Jean Valjean and Eponine (One day I will make a separate blog entry about why as it will take a while!). Since April there has been a new principle Eponine. A young actress from the US called Eva Nobelzada, who made her professional debut playing Kim in Miss Saigon in 2014 at The Prince Edward Theatre, had taken over the role and I was intrigued to see how she would be.
Would Eva be able to get across the necessary raw emotion that I think is needed for the part? I’m no acting expert but I believe that out of all the characters, apart from JVJ, Eponine goes through the most emotionally. Her feelings for Marius and how she feels when her love goes unrequited. Torn between loyalty to family and doing what is right for Marius, a lot of pent up anger as well. Could she do it??
Well, damn! She blew me away! It has been a while since I shed a tear at Les Mis (okay, February! 😉 )but Eva’s rendition of On My Own was amazing and I did cry during A Little Fall Of Rain (I’m not ashamed to say!). She checked all the boxes and whilst her predecessor, Danielle Hope. was awesome, Eva is the best Eponine for me for a very long time!
I must meet her at the stage door one day if only to say hi and grab an autograph and selfie! Maybe at number 28….
I’m also a bit of a musicals geek. I have a few firm favourites (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, West Side Story etc) but my all time favourite is Les Miserables.
I haven’t seen it in a few years, since it moved to the Queens Theatre in fact. When my brother and sister-in-law said they wanted to go it was too good an opportunity to pass up!
It is still as awesome and emotional as ever. No one will ever beat the original Jean Valjean, Colm Wilkinson, but Peter Lockyer did a damn fine job and Danielle Hope was awesome as Eponine. The sets were as amazing as I remember.
With this being my 26th will I go again? Damn right I will!
Edit: A few days later I received an early birthday present, courtesy of my brother and his family. Something he had arranged through the theatre. Very awesome!