REVIEW: Les Misérables, Corn Exchange, Brighton

Sam and  Leah Gallant from Shoreham as Gavroche and Young Cosette
Sam and Leah Gallant from Shoreham as Gavroche and Young Cosette

A STANDING ovation that was richly deserved closed BTG Youth’s top-class production of Les Misérables on Friday.

There is no denying the quality of this company, which is linked to Brighton Theatre Group.

Steyning Grammar School student Sam Gallant, 11, shared the part of Gavroche, and his sister, Leah, nine, from Shoreham Beach Primary School, shared the part of Young Cosette.

They are big parts for little ones, especially Gavroche, and both required solos.

The young teams sharing the parts were also in the ensemble, so when it wasn’t their night to take the role, they were still on stage regardless.

It’s a demanding musical, long, with some complicated harmonies.

There were just the tiniest hints of struggle on the odd low note but when the oldest cast member is 19, you can only be stunned by the level of talent displayed.

The backdrop of film throughout was often distracting, but occasionally brilliant, when it blended in exactly with the set on stage.

And the set itself impressed, with large pieces moved on and off so effortlessy, they often seemed to appear and disappear as if by magic.

Richard Hadfield, who is already pursuing a professional career in film and theatre, displayed an impressive level of humility as Jean Valjean, while Lewes Roberts made a threatening Javert.

For the girls, it was Jade Kennedy as Eponine who got the biggest applause and there’s no denying her moving solo had many in the audience in tears.