Ahh Les Misérables, you get me every time. I had some spare time at the weekend so took myself off to the cinema to see the film adaptation and despite being a little concerned that it wouldn’t be as good as the West End version,
I didn’t leave disappointed. Just like the stage show the film is utterly captivating.
I can’t remember the last time a film sent goose pimples down my arms so the fact this happened at least three times throughout the movie has to be a good sign!
There was even a little lump in my throat and a tear in my eye at the end. If you haven’t seen this film yet then make sure you do.
My passion for Les Misérables was a result of quite an unusual circumstance. As part of my studies at KES 6th form we were encouraged to find a week’s work placement in an industry that we’d eventually like to work in. I always knew that show business was for me and had a big interest in drama at the time, so I set my sights high and wrote to theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh (the brains behind Miss Saigon, Cats and, of course, Les Misérables) to see if I could shadow him for a week.
Now, considering this man had been described as “the most successful, influential and powerful theatrical producer in the world” by the New York Times and had a wealth of £675 million, I thought I’d never hear back from him.
To my astonishment just three days later, I received a reply from the man himself which pretty much said “I’ve never done this before so yes, why not, it will be a new experience for us both”.
When I was on the train to London I still couldn’t believe that I’d be spending any time with him, so I spent the journey convinced I’d be tucked away in an office sorting out paperwork or something.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Just as he promised in his letter, I spent three days literally shadowing him. Cameron Mackintosh was a busy man, but I was quite happy to sit on the leather sofa in his posh office just listening to all the meetings he had. I witnessed upcoming writers pitch new musicals, a marketing plan for how to promote a show and even got to see Martine McCutcheon rehearse a song for My Fair Lady.
But the highlight for me was getting free tickets to see Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre.
The next morning I returned to the theatre with Cameron Mackintosh because he was holding some auditions for another show, but during a break he showed me the set.
Tucked away behind a curtain was a giant lever which he asked me to pull. There’s a very dramatic scene in the show where the barricades revolve, so I gave this thing a tug and as if by magic, the entire set started to move.
I fell in love with Les Misérables at that very moment.