Clifton College Website

Student Contributions

Eloise Ladkin
Upper Sixth
Hallward's House

Les Mis

Les Mis

'Lovely Ladies'

'Les Misérables', the Upper School musical for 2010, kicked off to an energetic and enthusiastic start this term. The first of the many, much anticipated rehearsals that I attended was one to remember.

As I had expected, the standard was high — and yet I was surprised by how much so. With the cast decided the week before and rehearsals already well underway, I was interested to see how it had begun. Even from outside the Upper School Dance Studio one could clearly comprehend the echoes of the five ‘prostitutes’ reciting their newly learned words from their song ‘Lovely Ladies’. The song sounded synchronised, loud, clear and in tune!

Rehearsal from Les Mis

They performed the recently set number including learned lines in script and song, slick choreography and well followed direction, with Mrs Pickles (Director) hovering in the 'wings'. The number began and I was blown away. Considering we have been back at school one week and these girls only recently were informed of their parts and the numbers they were concerned with, it was very professional and already looked ready for opening night.

Jake Humphries and Nino Freuler approached from the back of the bridge with eager, hungry faces glaring at the rather genuinely terrified-looking Milla and Pippa on stage left. The scene progressed and Amelia Allen came on expressing her desire, to music of course, to cut off and buy Fantine's hair — a sacrifice she makes when she realises the money could help her young daughter Cosette (Jemima Cook).

William Rushworth (playing Marius) was standing in for the 'Captain' and he was definitely entertaining and displayed great versatility. It was amazing to see how far removed Will in character was from the Will everybody knew.

Having only been at this rehearsal for just half an hour, I could already see the effort that was being put in and how high the standard was. The play is ambitious, of course, but I am already convinced there is a real possibility of making this a huge success.

'Red and Black'

As rehearsals progress so do plans for the French Revolution expressed through the song 'Red and Black'. As leader of the students, praepostor James Hanson, sang strongly and confidently.

This song depicts the French students finally deciding to stand up for their beliefs against the National Guard, singing 'Can you Hear the People Sing'. Split halfway through by solos from William Rushworth and Tom Beresford (both School House, Upper Sixth), we see the individual characterisations develop as these boys play their parts more and more confidently.

Rehearsal from Les Mis
One of the other students was played by Jamie Smith w

ho reacted well to the others' parts and balanced his character well. The climax of one of the songs resulted in James's spontaneous decision to clamber, somewhat uncharacteristically clumsily, onto a table above which hung a light which swayed as it hit his head. Consequently laughter broke out among the boys, progressing until Mrs Pickles' mirth faded into stern recognition that they should return to rehearsing.

With a range of sighs, the rehearsal continued with James rubbing his head and acting far more hesitantly and stooping when the time came for him to step upon the table again. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched the talent become more apparent.

After about ten more minutes of running through this scene Mrs Pickles informed the increasingly hungry and tired boys that sandwiches were waiting for them outside the door of the Dance Studio. With a hurried scramble, each collected their belongings and scurried out to the awaiting tray behind the door. I was again surprised by the standard and progression that the show was starting to develop as I left the room.

‘One Day More’

The cast sing the final song

Rehearsals continue and as I attend more and more it is easy to see this production quickly come together. Everyone is trying so hard, evident from only spending three rehearsals watching. James Goldsworthy, Valjean, begins this rehearsal's main musical number. "… start off low and quiet and then progress to loud and lively" shouts Mrs P over James's well-toned bass voice. After James has begun Marius comes in about four lines in, then older Cossette leading onto Elleri Hughes and Charlie Markham's (Madame and Monsieur Thénardier) rendition of 'Master of the House'; eventually the whole cast joins in, with well rehearsed harmony. It is very clear that a lot of work has been put into the school musical already, and we are only three weeks into term.

The scene comes together in a climax which Mrs P does not seem perfectly happy with, however she never fails to bounce into the next scene with increasing enthusiasm and optimism. After the big musical number most of the cast disperse, leaving Peter Taylor (Javert) and James ready to start the next stage of the rehearsal — the opening scene. There being no spoken words in this play, being sung in its entirety, it is clear for one to see that the lyrics may be easy to remember and the quantity required for James to learn seems excessive, but he copes well with the demands of a principal. Already he is taking it in his stride and he completes the first few numbers not only with strong and rehearsed singing, but competent and believable acting alongside.

I am really looking forward to the next week of rehearsals after a much needed exeat!

8 October 2010

valid xhtml  |  valid css