Victor Hugo’s epic themes of universal human desire for freedom and peace were played out on the Regal Theatre stage with energy, colour and ample talent. This stellar performance of Les Misérables by an all-West Australian cast was enough to make one proud to be a West Australian.

Standouts were the male lead Ian Toyne as Jean Valjean and Peter Knol as Inspector Javert. Toyne has the kind of voice that is powerful even when singing in a higher range – you could hear a pin drop when he sang ‘Bring him home’. Knol had a throaty bass that was particularly stunning in his rendition of Javert’sSoliloquy’.

The older Cosette, played by Grace Edwards, hit what must have been the highest note of the night with crystal clear pitch. It was also a notable performance by the auburn Sherry-Anne Hayes as Eponine, whose dying scene in the arms of Marius was truly touching. The love triangle ‘A Heart Full of Love’ sung by Cosette, Marius and Eponine was one of my highlights.

Drew Elliott and Carolyn Latter as M. and Madame Thenardier respectively relished their despicable characters with aplomb, providing comic relief. The young actors were also excellent, particularly Lawrence Westrip as Garoche.

The set was a little clumsy at times but had moments of ingenuity. Lamarque’s tomb worked well as a barricade and changes between scenes were carried out smoothly and swiftly. As an aside, during the battle scenes, I couldn’t help thinking that the tight, skinny leg pants worn by the young revolutionaries with a touch of the military weren’t too different from outfits being sported by young fashionistas today.

The cast of more than 50 actors worked brilliantly together. When they belted out the final rousing number they seemed like old friends. The harmonies exploded joyously and the orchestra did a fantastic job of building the momentum.

Produced by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Western Australia, this local stage production brought to life the characters - and songs - known and loved by many. It was a powerful performance that moved me to tears and laughter. It also moved me to sing but I restrained myself for the benefit of my fellow audience members.

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Western Australia presents
Les Miserables

Director John Senczuk
Musical Director Tim Cunniffe

Venue: Regal Theatre, Subiaco
Performances: August 7 to 22, 2009. Preview August 6, 2009
Tickets: From $39 per person (group and family discounts available)
Bookings: Ticketek on 132 849 or

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