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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh, based on the book by Victor Hugo)

Jean Valjean was arrested in France for stealing a loaf of bread and the play starts at the time when he is released, 19 years later. Only the saintly Bishop of Digne treats him kindly and Valjean, embittered by years of hardship, repays him by stealing some silver. Valjean is caught and brought back by police, and is astonished when the Bishop lies to the police to save him, also giving him two precious candlesticks. Valjean decides to start his life anew.
Eight years have passed and Valjean, having broken his parole and changed his name to Monsieur Madeleine, has risen to become both a factory owner and Mayor. He finds out that one of his workers, Fantine, has a secret illegitimate child. Later on, in her deathbed, he promises her that he will find and look after her daughter Cosette. The latter has been lodged for five years with the Thénardiers who run an inn, horribly abusing the little girl whom they use as a servant while indulging their own daughter, Eponine.
Nine years later, at a political meeting in a small café, a group of idealistic students prepare for the revolution they are sure will erupt on the death of General Lamarque. When Gavroche brings the news of the General's death, the students, led by Enjolras, stream out into the streets to whip up popular support. Only Marius is distracted by the thoughts of the mysterious Cosette, with whom he has fallen in love. In spite of her own feelings for Marius, Eponine sadly brings him to Cosette.
Throughout the entire play, Valjean also has to escape Javert, the Policeman who has learnt of his true identity.

Where you can see it: Queen's Theatre, London, England

Why I chose this musical: It tells of how you can turn your life into something useful when nothing seems possible and how friendship, love and courage are powerful and worth so much more than money. This play teaches you facts about French History, with very memorable songs, but it also makes you realise the important values in life, those that come straight from the heart.

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