This one was a huge disappointment for me. I have been a Les Miserables fan since I was a little girl, belting out the strong soundtrack in the bathroom mirror with a hairbrush, throughout my early teen years. I was so excited to see Les Mis in London, because I find London has some of the best theater experiences. Most of the theaters are so small that there isn’t a bad seat in the house! All of their prices are pretty reasonable and they have smaller crowds, but the facilities are still decent enough for easy trips to the bathroom or the bar. Usually…unfortunately, none of this was the case at Queen’s Theatre.
My problems with this experience were split evenly between the show itself and the venue. The venue, Queen’s Theatre, is (so far) my least favorite theater in all of London. My view was obstructed the entire time between the large balcony overhang above my head and the short woman in front of me. You would think it would take a tall man to obstruct my view, but since there was barely a slope in the flooring, all it took was a below-average lady. I was constantly twisting and turning to see around her. If the seats had been staggered, and I could see between two people, that would have been better. Anything would have been better. There was also minimal leg room. My 6’4″ father had a hard time, especially when guests tried to pass through the row to their own seats.
The temperature of the theater was also a problem. Probably the hottest theater I have ever been in. I thanked God for (and my dad who purchased) the Playbill that I was able to use as a fan throughout the whole show. The second intermission hit, I ran up to the bar just to seek a cooler climate. I couldn’t even have a cocktail because I feared the eventual dehydration during Act 2. I ordered a bizarrely small orange juice, and then another one, and a bottle of water to bring to my seat. The bar and bathroom crowds were not too bad, but that’s really the only good thing I have to say about Queen’s Theatre.
The actual show itself was just okay. Les Miserables has a soundtrack of powerful songs that require very strong voices. While the cast’s voices were obviously good, no one (maybe Eponine), really knocked it out of the park. It didn’t help that the understudy was filling in for the lead, either. For a show as long as Les Mis, you really want a top-notch performance throughout. Bottom line: Skip Les Miserables at Queen’s Theatre and catch it in New York.
London W1D 6BA