Les Millénniables is a pop parody musical based (very loosely) on Les Misérables. Jean Valjean (Natalie Sullivan) is fresh out of college and has racked up a lot of debt, we see her run-ins with the tax man, boomer Javert (Tony Gonzalez) over the next 10+ years. The show also features other characters loosely based on Les Mis; Fantine (Ayla Glass) who desperately sells her favourite wig online, Cosette (Linnea Jefferson) the Tik-Toker and Madame and Monsieur Thenardier (Amanda Walter and Rama Vallury) are redneck truckers.
The show relies heavily on cheap gags, puns, and cheesy humour, with lots of references to millennial things such as avocado toast. Half of these jokes are genuinely funny and land with the audience, and you quickly accept the level of humour in the show. However, there’s such a heavy dependency on trying to be funny that it becomes quite tedious. I think the humour would have been more effective if the jokes were carefully refined. The plot line delivered some funny moments, a favourite being that the revolution and the barricade were in fact against ‘the system’, but overall the plot’s main purpose in the show is to fish for laughs.
Les Millénniables features an array of cringe-worthy pop songs, which is in keeping with the nature of the show. We have our Tenardier Truckers singing ‘Party in the USA’, Eponine sings ‘Dancing On My Own’ and probably the funniest moment in the whole production we have Javert singing ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’, as he remembers he too was a young person once as he heals his Inner Child (Chandra East), who we see do an interpretive dance. The show does rely very heavily on the use of songs, and there were moments where there were some nice harmonies. Some of the songs were more fitting than others, and it felt like a lot of songs were there to fill the time between the thin plotline.
Les Millénniables has the potential to be an entertaining watch, you just have to embrace the tone of the show. You can tell that the team has worked hard on it, but I can’t help but think it would be funnier if it was more refined. I do think it’s a lighthearted watch, and a good laugh if you’ve had a few drinks with friends.
The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, High Tide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE
Drum roll please…(Cue a literal drum rolling across the stage.) The Lyric pantomime is one of traditions with the return of many well-loved jokes and skits. Costumes and sets are all made at the Lyric itself by Good Teeth, with set pieces being reused year on year. This year Cinderella gets the Hammersmith makeover, with some success. The costuming is fun and vibrant, with the ugly stepsisters’ equine pyjamas and hoop-skirted ball gowns giving all the wrong kinds of extra you need for those characters. Cinderella’s on stage dress transformation is magical and really well-timed. The Dame, Lady Jelly-Bottom’s, outfits … More CINDERELLA – REVIEW – LYRIC HAMMERSMITH
Amy catches up with Linus Karp ahead of his performance of Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, at London’s Clapham Grand. Linus and Joseph of Awkward Productions are also the masterminds behind the new show Gwyneth Goes Skiing. Hello Your Majesty/ Candle Entrepreneur, how are you feeling coming back from a hugely successful fringe and triumphant tour across your kingdom, ahead of performing in front of 700 of your loyal subjects, and before (the list never ends!) opening a brand new show, which has recently gone viral? Exhausted, exhilarated and alive. We’ve had the most ridiculous year – I feel … More INTERVIEW – LINUS KARP – DIANA: THE UNTOLD AND UNTRUE STORY