Rebellious Students hit the heights with Les Misérables

11th December 2018

Throughout its life, Les Misérables has launched some amazing careers and rejuvenated others and in its 38 years has played to sell out audiences becoming the longest running musical in the West End and the second longest running musical in the World.  For those who may not be familiar with Victor Hugo’s novel from which the musical is based, here is a quick plot summary in just three quick sentences -  set in early 19th-century France it’s the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant who served nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister's starving child. Valjean decides to break his parole and start a new life after a bishop inspires him by a tremendous act of mercy, but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a significant amount of other characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists attempt to overthrow the government at a street barricade.  Some parts sound familiar?  For those watching events unfold in France over recent weeks, the rebellious theme throughout the musical is as current now as it was in 1848 when the February Revolution, from which the musical is devised, took place.

You may be forgiven for thinking that Kingsbridge Community College couldn’t possibly compete with the West End, but if you were someone lucky enough to have bought a ticket for the College’s four-day sell-out production, you were to be in for an absolute treat.  This young and vibrant cast ruthlessly reduced their audience to tears – mums, dads, grans, grandads, teachers, classmates, neighbours and friends – they took no prisoners, and all were all overwhelmed by the energy, power and fantastic talent that simply exploded onto the stage each night.

Over seventy students from Years 7 to 13 worked together since the beginning of April 2018 with their musical and theatrical directors Martin Lewis, Head of Drama and Sharon Mitchell, Head of Music, to hone their vocal, acting and theatrical skills and to develop their characters ready to take their place on the atmospheric staging of the streets of Paris. 

With period costumes created by textiles teacher, Sam Simons, technical support from both current and ex-students and an orchestra which included well-rehearsed and talented students under the skilful direction of Music teacher, Peter Johnson, the audience was carried off on a wave of music, song, action and love.  Among so many stand out performances it is worth highlighting a few.  The powerful performance of Bryn Pratt as Jean Valjean, who owned the stage from start to finish, Tommy Booker who played the dogged and determined Javert, the heart wrenching plight of Fantine, played by Evie Booth, the Thénardier’s comical interludes played with obvious delight by Ellie Trelfa Stewart, Belle Stallard and Dan Sinclair and heartbreaking performances from Lucy Booker as Cosette, and also Amy Taylor and Ella Crossland as Eponine.  The College would like to thank all students, parents and friends for their enthusiastic support the production, it simply couldn’t have happened without them.

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