Les Misérables at the Chemainus Theatre Festival

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lesmisI’ll not attempt to critique individual performances in this short blog post, suffice to say there was not a flaw to be found.

Director Peter Jorgensen expressed his vision on the small stage in Chemainus in a way that has to be seen to be believed. The cast and crew blended together to bring the play to life. The music, from the live band to the vocal instruments of the actors, reverberated through the audience.

Veteran actor Kieran Martin Murphy led the cast with a strong performance and confident ability. The performances were powerful and moving. I cannot remember ever having had that many emotional experiences in a theatre. Thank goodness for the small bit of comic relief provided by the “Master of the House.”

While the story is the tale of a singular time in history and the people of that period, it resonates with the world of today. People have not changed regardless of technology. We still love, laugh, lust, hate and greed. Fortunately, love overcomes all else. Above all else, Les Mis is a story of love.

Chemainus Theatre Festival is a fully professional theatre located in the small town of Chemainus, BC, population 3900. Unless I’m mistaken, the term “festival” is just part of the name of the non-profit organization. It isn’t a festival as we normally think of one.

We attended a matinee on Wednesday, August 27—and the house was packed. Yes, a full house. A testimonial to the high esteem and value placed on this little theatre in the centre of Vancouver Island. Our experience included pleasant interactions with staff and volunteers and a space that was temperature controlled perfectly.

Some Les Mis trivia :

Adapted from the novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, Les Misérables tells the story of the salvation of former convict Jean Valjean over the period 1815 – 1832. The climax of the story is the Paris uprising of 1832.

The music was composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg, with lyrics written by Alain Boublil and poet Jean-Marc Natel, It was then translated into English by Herbert Kretzmer.

Feel free to leave comments on your experience or thoughts on Les Misérables

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2 Responses to Les Misérables at the Chemainus Theatre Festival

  1. Maxine Balsdon says:

    I saw Les Mis in London a few years ago. I wondered how in the world a stage as small as the one at Chemainus could possibly manage. However, I was overwhelmed by this awesome, compelling production. My friend and I could hardly speak by the end. Several of my friends have seen it and we all agree – It Is Wonderful! The intimacy of the theatre, in my opinion, makes this a stunning performance and also in my opinion, better than the one I saw in London!

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