8 Reasons Les Misérables At Newcastle Theatre Royal Is Not To Be Missed

We were invited along to press night.

Throwback to 2012 - I was a parent to three children aged 2,3 and 6 and nights out with the girls were few and far between. One such night out vividly sticks in my head and that's when I escaped to the cinema with my friends to see Les Miserables. At this point, I had no idea about the story or what to expect and was just happy to get out of the house (my friend was a huge fan and begged us all to go with her). 

Les Miserables | Newcastle Theatre Royal Review

Well never has a movie made so much of an impression on me. I was gripped from the very beginning and cried for most of it. What a performance! I immediately came home and started researching how much a trip to London would cost to see the production on stage as I could only imagine how fantastic this would be to see but at around £500 and with us being a young family with responsibilities, this was out of our reach so any grand plans I had of seeing Les Mis on stage were sadly put on hold. I consoled myself with the DVD and have probably watched it over 100 times over the years and told everyone who would listen that if I had another baby girl, I'd name her Cosette.

Les Miserables | Newcastle Theatre Royal Review


You can imagine my delight when I heard that Les Mis was heading to Newcastle's Theatre Royal this year. With tickets available from £23.50, it's a lot more affordable than a trip to London's West End and with a long run from 15 August - 5 October (that's an epic 8-week run), I feel so lucky that we have the opportunity to see Les Mis right here in my home city. As I am such a fan of the 2012 movie, I did start to worry that it would not live up to my very high expectations though. I brought Steve along with me on press night. He just doesn't feel Les Mis in the way that I do. He will tolerate the movie but it would never be his first choice to watch and he's not the biggest fan of musicals so I was interested to see how he found the stage version too. 

Les Miserables | Newcastle Theatre Royal Review

I have never been so excited to see a show at the theatre before. I was like a kid at Christmas as I took my seat in the packed auditorium and waited for the show to begin. 

Les Miserables | Newcastle Theatre Royal Review

OMG I loved it! It truly lived up to my expectations and I was surprised that Steve (hater of musical theatre) was impressed too. I've never seen a standing ovation like it at the end and I swear the guy in front of us looked like he was going to burst with disbelief during some of the impressive solos.

Les Miserables | Newcastle Theatre Royal Review

8 Reasons Les Misérables At Newcastle Theatre Royal Is Not To Be Missed 


1 - The Opening Scene

The opening scene of Les Mis is so powerful. The loud music, the beating drums, the rousing chorus.....you really get a feel for the pain at the mercy of power, injustice and suffering endured by Valjean. I had goosebumps!

2 - At The End Of The Day 

I love this scene in the factory where the bitchiness of women is played out in front of our eyes. Perfectly staged, it really gives you a feel of how quickly life can change. It's one of my favourite songs from the show and does not disappoint.

3 - Lovely Ladies 

Sometimes this is an uncomfortable scene to watch - the dark side of the streets of Paris and something we all probably wish we could turn a blind eye to but instead are forced to watch and feel part of. It's gross and sad but weirdly still fantastic to see and one of those scenes where you are on the edge of your seat and waiting to see what will happen next.

4 - Stunning Solos 

Wow, wow, wow - the solos. They are truly incredible and the best I have ever seen. I just can't believe people can actually sing like that! Such a talented cast and an absolute joy to watch. A special mention has to go to Nic Greenshields as Javert - his death scene and powerful solos were some of the best moments of the whole production. Katie Hall as Fantine and Killian Donnelly as Jean Valjean were the two other performances which really stole the show for me. I dreamed a dream was just beautiful and despite a packed theatre, you would have been able to hear a pin drop.

5 - One Day More  

The final scene of Act One is set in Paris in 1832 and is a rousing number that again, has the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. As the cast prepares for the revolution, you almost want to grab a bayonet and join them on stage.

6 - Battle Scenes 

The battle scenes in Act Two were fantastic and with the use of props, special effects and clever lighting, it was magical to see the stage transformed into a battle zone. It really reminded me of the world-class productions we saw at Puy du Fou last year. Actually, the staging overall was spot on and it's the kind of production where scenes switch seamlessly and you don't even notice a set change.

7 - Master Of The House

Les Miserables isn't all doom and gloom and 'Master of the House' brings some light relief. For me, Helena Bonham Carter's shoes are very tough shoes to fill but if anything, Sophie-Louise Dann does an even better job with the role of Madame Thenardier. This scene is a little more risqué on stage than on film but it is even more hilarious with perfect comic timing and you don't know where to look as there's so much going on. It had the audience in stitches.

8 - The Orchestra 

There's something really special about watching a live Orchestra and under the direction of Ben Atkinson, the team do a sterling job. It's such a privilege listening to them and the use of live music really adds so much to the overall production.


Les Miserables | Newcastle Theatre Royal Review

A word about age recommendations.....

Les Miserables is recommended for ages 7+. I would have taken my three along but by some kind of coincidence that only happens once in a blue moon, the kids were already having a sleepover at grannies on press night and I wasn't going to miss out on an opportunity for a child-free date night.

There is gunfire, smoke and flashing light effects, death scenes plus a quite a few adult themes and language (prostitutes/leering/the use of the word 'slut' etc...). It did raise my eyebrows in parts but it wasn't too explicit. On reflection, I don't think Les Mis would have been for Heidi (10) or Jack (8) just because it's so long and might be tough for younger audiences to follow, plus I think I'd feel uncomfortable with some of the sexual gestures and language for them. However, Harry (12) would have absolutely loved the show and I'd have no problem taking him along.

Act One - 1 hour 30 minutes
Interval - 15 minutes
Act Two - 1 hour 5 minutes
Total -2 Hours 50 minutes

There are captioned and audio-described performances which you can find out more information on the image below and book online here. 

Les Miserables | Newcastle Theatre Royal Review

So did Les Mis live up to my high expectations? It really did, in fact, it exceeded them. I am so pleased I finally got to see it. The show really is a world-class production featuring what I think will be the best singing I will EVER see. It's definitely the best musical I've watched and is only just pipped to the post by War Horse as the best production I've ever seen on stage.

Despite being in town for 8 weeks, Les Miserables now has limited availability across all performances so if you're interested in catching the show, book your tickets ASAP. If you already have tickets, you're in for a real treat. To keep up to date with ticket releases and news on how to get your hands on the best value tickets, you can sign up to the Theatre Royal mailing list here. 






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4 comments

  1. Alan has managed to get a 'restricted view' seat at the front with his mam for £29 each so def worth looking out! He's very excited & we def can't afford full price at the mo!!

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  2. This sounds so good, I am really excited! I’ve booked some cheap seats as trying not to spend much and I think the theatre royal gallery seats are an amazing affordable option. I was unsure whether to go as I haven’t seen the original musical in London despite wanting to forever, but I don’t think this can be missed! I love your point about Steve not ‘feeling it’ exactly the way you do, I really know what you mean. It’s going to be so amazing, I bet you want to watch it again! I used to get in from school and sit at my piano playing the songs for hours so actually cannot wait to see it brought to life. Melis x

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  3. I was already super excited to see this in October with my mum and dad, but reading this has made me even MORE excited! Those solos will be amazing. I also cried throughout the film and last time I saw it on stage I was quite young so will appreciate it even more now. Glad you enjoyed your trip x

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  4. Ah Samantha you might want to edit this to contains spoilers! Going to see this next week and now know which character dies 😞

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