Les Miserables at the Barbican – Reviews Round-up

Les Miserables at the Barbican Theatre – Reviews Round-up

John Owen Jones in Les Miserables
John Owen Jones in Les Miserables

The critics were on a state of humble-pie alert when reviewing the new, 25th anniversary touring production of Les Miserables. The show has come back to where it all began, the Barbican theatre in London, for a celebratory hurrah. The first time they reviewed it, a number of critics gave it a good mauling, but 25 years and millions of pounds in box office takings later, they were gathered again, this time to rave and appreciate the success of the world’s longest running musical. They also celebrated the slimmed down new production, with new direction, sets (out with the revolve, in with projections) and costumes, despite the criticism of original directors Trevor Nunn and John Caird.

Read extracts from Les Miserables reviews below, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Stage and The Guardian.


"The show was rapturously received and all the old magic is intact. And Matt Kinley’s simpler designs, with evocative backdrops inspired by Victor Hugo’s atmospheric drawings and paintings, work superbly." - The Telegraph
"Yes, the lushness of the scoring can eventually make you feel as if you are overdosing on aural cream cakes. But while the adaptation fillets Hugo's novel and lends it a rosy, romantic glow, it doesn't rip out its heart. The metaphysical struggle between the former convict Jean Valjean and the pursuing policeman Javert is a very real and dramatic one. I always think the sign of any good theatre adaptation is when it sends you straight to the library for a copy of the novel. This does, and it sends you there singing loudly." - The Guardian
"Mackintosh's new version smartly walks the line. There's enough new vitality to justify the re-think without losing the sensibility of the original." - Variety
"There was talk of this being "Les Miz-lite". It's no such thing." - The Independent
"Gareth Gates, Madalena Alberto and Rosalind James lack the individuality of original cast members Michael Ball, Patti LuPone and Frances Ruffelle as Marius, Fantine and Eponine respectively, and can’t always resist the urge to pitch their power ballads into X-Factor styling. But this remains a show with more than a little extra. It’s thrilling to see it back where it all began." - The Stage

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