At the Barricades – 27th August 2011

27th August 2011, Queen’s  Theatre – Les Misérables

 MY GOD I had incredible night!!

The original plan was to go back to the hotel and change after a hectic but enjoyable day shopping, but bus delays/ traffic meant we would have ran the risk of missing the show if we’d done so, so we all made the sensible decision to instead go for dinner. A wise decision in the long run I think!!

We left the restaurant with a ‘Right… TO THE BARRICADE!!!’ from me (shameless fangirlism ahoy) arrived at the theatre shortly before 7… My friend and I were excited beyond belief and I kept singing ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’ to myself all the way there.

 I’d love to take a minute just here to mention the staff at Queens for all their support and kindness, they were so attentive and friendly which really added to my enjoyment of the atmosphere and the whole evening.

I almost yelled with excitement when I saw where we were to be sitting: We had an amazing view in the dress circle and only lost about an inch on the right side of the stage… luckily there were only two moments that we lost a bit of the edge off of because of that and I was SO grateful to realize I would still be able to see during the bows for a change!!

Now, to the show. The wave of initial ‘no Alfie’ disappointment did hit when I realized it wasn’t him onstage (hadn’t seen the announcements), but it didn’t last too long. We had his 2nd understudy, Chris Jacobsen as our Valjean and he did a great job. Personally I found his ‘FLIGGGHHT!!!’ and ‘24601!!!’ a bit ‘wailey’, but he really settled into the role as it went on and I enjoyed his performance very much overall. A favorite section was his interaction with Cosette and the bargaining with the Thénardiers. His JVJ was very warm and fiercely protective which I loved.
Also, my friend and I both held hands during his ‘Bring Him Home’ and were moved almost to tears so that was a testament to his performance.

Matt Lucas was on HILARIOUS top form – I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so much: genius ad libbing from him and his Madame T included a moment during their ‘Beggars at the Feast’ where he was mid note, spun her around and she carried on spinning offstage and left him in silence for at least a minute, she came back on and he just looked at her and went: ‘alright?’ before he carried on singing, It got lots of laughs!

Alexia Khadime’s Eponiné was an absolute joy. I found her voice lovely and rich and her acting was superb. I really felt for her during ‘A heart full of Love’ when Marius and Cosette were singing and she was leaning longingly on the gate frame singing her lines. But I also loved how her Eponine could also be strong and confident á la ‘The Attack on Rue Plumet.’

But, without a doubt the star for me was Hadley Fraser who played Javert . Now, being a HUGE fan of his anyway I’m a little biased but for me, he played the part to utter perfection. So so powerful and delightfully menacing and I got all excited whenever he was due to come on, so much so I was bouncing slightly in my seat. He was BADASS with his policeman’s baton and the Confrontation was electric (albeit a little humorous with some chasing round Fantine’s bed), as were his ‘Stars’ and ‘Javert’s Suicide’. As he wrestled with his feelings on the bridge of the Seine, I was rocking slightly in my wheelchair and whispering ‘Don’t jump Hadley, Don’t jump Hadley’, purely because I didn’t want him to stop singing!

We sang quietly along hand in hand to the finale and found ourselves tearing up!! Quite rightly, the roof EXPLODED. I have NEVER experienced such joy and elation from a room in my life and don’t think I ever will again. Standing ovation all round!!

Stage Door- PANIC!! It was crowded and I couldn’t see a thing… was worried I’d miss everyone but thanks to the efforts of a lovely lady next to us: This happy fangirl was able to meet Hadley!! He nearly missed us but was steered in our direction thanks to her(I think she heard my subtle ‘Oh hadley, don’t do this to me!!’)

Having been steered in our direction by the aforementioned kind lady next to us, my first thoughts before he turned to speak were: ‘Oh god, I’m going to stumble my words. please don’t let me screw up, not now after waiting this long for tonight!

But I needn’t have worried. From the moment he opened his mouth, I was immediately put at ease: he greeted us with a ‘hello ladies’ and a big grin which was my cue: ‘Hi Hadley! You were awesome tonight! He smiled warmly and said thankyou, then I added that it was the best build up to a birthday I could have imagined, my 21st is next week.
‘Oh brilliant, you enjoyed it then? Had you seen it before?’
At this point, my friend chimed in: ‘oh goodness yes. No we hadn’t, but she listens to the songs constantly ‘ which resulted in a laugh from Hadley. My friend and I exchanged glances that said: ‘we made him laugh, SCORE!’
I carried on, ‘Hadley, I’m coming to see it again in November on the 19th, will you be here weilding your baton again then?’ He laughed again and said, ‘Well, I don’t have any holiday booked at the moment, so I should be, come say hi!’

He then did something so sweet and sincere that really meant a lot: having signed our tickets and said ‘of course’ to a photo, some other girls were hailing him and he turned around and said to them: ‘I’ll be there in a second!’ before coming round next to me and bending down slightly so he’d be more at my level and saying ‘right! Where are we looking?’

After the photo we headed off: ‘Thanks again Hadley, YOU’RE A STAR!’
He shot another lovely smile: ‘You’re welcome, happy birthday for next week!’

Here is said photo, I adore it 😀

I can’t sing his praises enough. Looking forward to Nov and ‘Hi hadley! Told you I’d be back again!’


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