A Standing Ovation for Les Misérables

Tuesday 12th March 2019

From Wednesday 13 February until Saturday 16 February, the PAC was bursting with music and powerful vocal performances from Queen Anne’s and Reading Boys’ School’s production of Les Misérables.

After months of hard work, students performed five consecutive shows, each receiving a standing ovation from a full house.

 

“A superb performance, outstanding in every way. The musical performances combined with the actors’ ability to bring the story to life was quite thrilling.” said Headmistess, Julia Harrington. “It could have been at the West End!”

Speaking of the West End, our students received a video message of support from the cast of the West End performances of Les Misérables, in London.

 

This message spurred our own cast on to put their best efforts into each one of their performances.

Following the final performance (and once the cast had got some well earned rest!), we caught up with Leah L (L5) to hear her thoughts on being a big part of Queen Anne’s and Reading Boys’ School’s production of Les Misérables.

 

Leah played the part of Madame Thernadier. Madame Thernadier, and her husband Monsieur Thernardier, are partners in crime, with the desire to con everybody.

“Madame Thernadier is a very strong character – you have to be the right person to like her and understand her.” Leah explained.

The couple are the antagonists of the musical, and provide comedy within the mostly tragic storyline of Les Misérables.

“I really enjoyed playing the character of Madame Thernadier. She’s not your regular female character – she’s definitely not a sweet princess! She’s rude, strong-tempered and has a lot of passion. I love that, playing her, I can really just go for it and let out the anger of her character! It’s very exciting.”

For many of the cast, this was their first time working on a major production with another school. For Leah, an important part playing the role of Madame Thernardier was working closely with James, who played Monsieur Thernardier, as partners in crime.

 

“Working in collaboration with Reading Boys’ School was amazing. I worked very closely with James, who played Monsieur Thernadier. He was great to work with, and really impacted how I played my character.

We had great chemistry in our acting and made a great comedy duo. Although Les Misérables is quite a sad production, no one wants to watch a show and just cry! Our comedic parts gave the audience some breaks of laughter and lightened the mood.”

And the audiences certainly did enjoy their performances! After months of hard work, the cast of Les Misérables finally took to the stage.

“On the opening night energy levels were really high. We all felt upbeat and well prepared for our performances.” Leah reminisced.

“We received a standing ovation for every performance, which was amazing! Stepping out on stage to a full house of people on their feet was an unforgettable feeling. I was in my zone, thinking “I love this, this is what I want to do.””

Since the curtain fell on the fifth and final performance of Les Misérables, our hardworking cast and crew have had a chance to get some rest, and recover their voices! Their months of rehearsals had paid off, resulting in five spectacular performances.

Reflecting on the time preparing for and performing in the production, Leah reminisced about what this experience had taught her:

“I learned a lot from performing in Les Misérables with Reading Boys’ School – confidence, teamwork, dedication. Les Misérables is a difficult production, and you need to be a very close-knit team to pull it off, which I think we were and we did!

Playing the character of Madame Thernadier taught me to speak my mind and not be afraid to put my own ideas forward.”

 

“I will never ever forget this experience – it was so worth my time and the months of rehearsals. I have made so many new friendships, and the staff and students at both Queen Anne’s and Reading Boys’ School have been so supportive!

It was really rewarding to be working people who shared such a love for music, drama and performing. Even when we were tired, you could still feel that passion from everyone, and that was just amazing.”

The cast, crew and staff from Queen Anne’s and Reading Boys’ School have done an incredible job in creating performances of such a professional standard, which will be remembered for years to come.

 

Mr Padley, Director of Music at Queen Anne’s, summed up the production perfectly:

“An absolutely glittering performance, with such talent from both schools. Well done to all!”