Review: Standing ovation for young talent after successful Les Misérables School Edition opening night in Sheringham

The young cast of Les Miserables on stage at Sheringham Little Theatre.

The young cast of Les Miserables on stage at Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Archant

Putting on the complex production of Les Misérables in a small theatre is always going to be a challenge.

But the young cast of the Les Misérables School Edition at Sheringham Little Theatre, which opened last night, was a resounding success.

With clever set design and quick scene changes each period of the musical set in 19th century France was portrayed well.

Despite the 30-strong cast only being aged between eight and 19 the show featured emotionally-charged and accomplished performances that would give a professionally-trained adult show a run for its money.

Continuous music from pianist Kathy Al-Bay and keyboard player Andrew Mitchell was also a particular highlight of the show.

Anthony Loftus, who played escaped convict Jean Valjean or prisoner 24601, kicked off the musical with a strong solo.

Throughout the show he and his captor Javert, whose ambition it was to recapture Jean Valjean, maintained their intense relationship. Javert was played by 14-year-old Charlie Shepherd.

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Classically trained Zaira Palumbo, 19, who played Fantine, sang a pitch perfect version of I Dreamed a Dream which was full of emotion.

Other spine-tingling performances were given by Gresham's School head chorister Emma Wright, who played Éponine, and soprano Katie Thompson who played the older Cossette.

One of the most popular scenes was the Master of the House song with innkeepers Madame Thénardier and Thénardier, played by Paris Chandler, 18, and GCSE student Sam Thompson.

The pair had all the comical mannerisms to rival Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen in the hit 2012 film and captured the audience with their vocal talents.

Younger talent also shone out, from Jodie Wiggins who played the little Cossette and Tom Leze, 12, who played cheeky Gavroche.

As well as main characters all the ensemble parts, which featured complicated harmonies, were performed with confidence.

The Les Misérables School Edition is well worth a watch and fully deserved the standing ovation.

It will be shown until Saturday April 19.

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