There have been many successful musicals but surely none can have surpassed this experience. When the students who participated have scattered to the 4 corners of the earth on lift’s great adventure, they will all carry with them fond memories of “Les Mis”.
The undertaking of a musical of such epic proportions was gargantuan but “Cometh the hour, cometh the man”…..an inspired cast delivered the ultimate performance.
Brendan Walshe (Jean Valjean) portrayed a man of great humanity and dignity in the face of all adversities. His voice rose to the challenge that the role demands with a great range and stylish interpretation.
Eric Fitzgerald’s (Javert) had an impressive presence and one could empathise with this self-righteous police inspector……..a man driven by his own demons! The timbre of this baritone voice belied Eric’s years.
The Bishop of Digne (Padraic Burke) was suitably endowed with the “mild of human kindness”. The pathos of the unfortunate (Fantine) was well portrayed by Claire Hallinan with an expressive voice to match. Peter Heverin’s (Foreman) was a suitably over-bearing as Dean Morrisseys’s (Bamatabois) was presumptious. Susan Long was deliciously shrewish as the (Old Woman). Susan Burke/Eva Moroney alternated the parts of (Little Cosette) and (Little Eponine). They were wonderfully waif-like and endeared themselves to the audience with the wistful “Castle on a Cloud”. Diarmuid Bolger’s (Thenardier) was a striking study which managed to combine black burlesque comedy with amoral villainy. This was an excellent portrayal with a fine voice too. Nicole Lonergan was tremendous as the obnoxious (Madame Thenardier)…..and what a powerfully expressive voice from such a petite figure! Definitely an actress for the future.
The (Gavroche) of Matthew Williams was a sheer delight ….. the ultimate street urchin! His death at the barricades was an obvious source of distress to many in the audience. Kelley Lonergan’s (Eponine) was the quintessential femme fatale ….acted with great sincerity and sang with languid beauty. Emmet Donlon displayed all the leadership qualities demanded of (Enjolras), forcefully dramatic with a remarkable vocal range. The hapless lovelorn (Marius) of Brian O’ Sullivan was excellently realised….. one of the most difficult parts for a student to play. His is another voice for the future. The object of his desires (Cosette), was played sympathetically by Sinéad Dempsey who has an expressive soprano voice. The (ABC Society) were believable revolutionaries and Ciaran Burke, David Gavigan, Stephen Carty and Padraic Burke are to be complimented. (Thenardier’s gang), David Kennedy, Donal Lynch, William May, Kevin McLean and David Foley…. were as evil a bunch of cut-throats as a christian would hope to avoid on a dark night!
The cast of workers, paupers, pimps, prostitutes and upper class were excellently realised by a hard-working cast. Olwyn Lyons and Roisin Coffey and their dancers were great. All involved in design, stage crew, lights, sound, costumes, props, publicity, sponsorship etc are to be complimented. Special thankd to Stage Manager Helen Fitzgerald and rehearsal pianists—-Pierce Purcell, Kelley Lonergan, Olga Gannon and Linda Gardiner. To the Musical Director, Siobhan Alley goes the greatest accolade.
The above account by Michael O’Donoghue, typically does not mention the Producer who was the originator of the joint musical production in 197 and has produced and been the driving force behind ‘the show’ every year since. Each production is memorable and is for many students the highlight of their school-going days. This year’s show was undoubtedly a very difficult assignment, but Michael, as usual, got the best out of the very considerable talents available to him to produce a show that was not only enjoyable for the audience, cast and stage crew but was also technically excellent and rightly lauded by all who were lucky to see it.