12 May Les Mis not so Mis
“Praise for Les Mis at school” was one of the lead headlines on the front page of The Islington Gazette.
So we turn to page 15 to find out why. In the education section we have a half page spread, including three stunning photos taken by Bill Cooper, and the production is hailed as “the barnstorming show that lifts spirits at school”. The article was driven by parents and endorsed by Almeida’s Jo Carey, who had called it; “A fantastic production that highlights the wealth of creativity within the school and its exemplary commitment to developing young performers and theatre-makers for the future. The school’s passion for the arts and the ambition of the staff and students at Highbury Grove never ceases to impress me,” though sadly this quote didn’t make it into the copy.
When the play was performed to Year 7 at the annual matinee, the students sat enthralled; they particularly liked Kieran (as the Inn Keeper) and the Barricades in Act 2. This was followed by two sold out performances to family and friends. Parents left very emotional – there were lots of hugs and tears with people feeling it was the best yet. Parents felt it was beautifully performed by the Years 7-13 on stage and in the pit band. Standing ovations all round. There were some knock out performances and Esme as the Old Woman was right on point in her cameo. Bertie as Gavrouche broke our hearts in his death scene. The relationship created between Marnie and Kieran, along with his comic prowess, was a joy, particularly in their song. Xanthe, Max and Marius grew as performers during the run to create roles with real maturity. Elliot showed what a trooper he is as Javert. Dylan stepped out of the chorus to prove he has leading man potential. Above all Sean as Jean showed what determination and hard work can produce as he took the lead in his first school musical.
Overall the cast and band all came out of their comfort zones and as Conrad put it, “It was such a big project but part of the fun was it was so difficult. Ms Wright could have chosen something less challenging but she wanted us to work hard because she believed in us.” Praise therefore must go to Mr Webber for being the song master, alongside Mrs Aron for creating the musical world. Thank you to all the students, it was a challenge at a very difficult time but for me this is why we do the job, to see the joy of performing and succeeding.
I leave you with two quotes from parents:
“To produce something of such quality takes huge amounts of time and dedication from staff and pupils alike, demonstrating outstanding talent and achievement.” Mrs Amanda Ely (mother of band members in Years 7 and 9)
“It was brilliantly executed and passionately performed: music, singing and acting of the highest standard, hugely enjoyable and deeply moving. Such a production requires a level of dedication, motivation and hard work only possible in an outstanding school environment with inspiring teachers.” Mrs Ana Nicholls
Ms Wright (Head of Drama)
Click here to see more photos of Les Misérables (photos taken by Bill Cooper)