Les Miserables

Theatre , Musicals Queen's Theatre , Soho Until Saturday March 4 2017
Critics' choice
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(55 user reviews)
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© Johan Persson
© Johan Persson
© Johan Persson
© Johan Persson
© Johan Persson
© Johan Persson
© Johan Persson
© Johan Persson

Cameron Mackintosh's strident 1985 show is one of the most iconic musicals of all time

This review is from 2011. From Monday 13 June 2016 the cast will feature David Langham as Thénardier, Chris Cowley as Enjolras, Peter Lockyer as Jean Valjean, Jeremy Secomb as Javert, Craig Mather as Marius, Rachelle Ann Go as Fantine, Eva Noblezada as Eponine, Katy Secombe as Madame Thenardier and Zoë Doano as Cosette.

If the second longest running show in the West End was looking a little tired, a rejuvenating orchestral facelift was just what the doctor ordered. Cameron Mackintosh's 'little girl' has shaken off that 1980s synth vibe and finally woken up to the organic noughties. This is a new, richer sound with strong operatic undertones and even the faint echoes of chamber music.

Led by compelling ex-'Phantom…' Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean, this dynamic cast blows a whirlwind through the Queen's Theatre, hurtling along Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's famous melodrama. Aided by a swirling revolve and John Napier's stunning constructivist set, we follow Jean Valjean's journey across France as he attempts to escape his criminal past and make amends.

Hadley Fraser as Javert, Valjean's fated pursuer, matches Karimloo's booming vocals and moody stares step for step (at one point rather sweetly causing a premature ovation). Craig Mather and Lisa-Anne Wood do very prettily as lovelorn young leads Marius and Cosette. But it is Alexia Khadime's soaring 'On My Own' that storms the barricades; her plucky and faithful Eponine genuinely pulls at the heartstrings.

For all its legions of fans, there are many who would sniff at this revived 'Les Miserables', branding it 'opera lite'. In a sense they would be right: all this histrionic bombast is only really making soap opera respectable. But so what. This updated and improved production is a real rabble-rouser and while it may be tosh, it's still stirring, beautifully made Cameron Mackintosh.

Venue name: Queen's Theatre
Address: Shaftesbury Avenue
Transport: Tube: Leicester Sq
Price: £20–£95. Runs 3hrs

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:46
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Leeping L

Been to my third Musical to date and this is by far the best amongst all. The Queen's Theater is very elegant and has very good acoustics. Unfortunately the tickets I purchased was with restricted view at the corner of the upper circle, but overall it was not a big issue. The story was very well played out, with some comical and laughing moments. The circular rotating stage was ingenious coupled with the merging stage props which gave a very good visual effect.

Overall both my spouse and I had an amazing time and will highly recommend this musical to anyone visiting London West End and only have time for one show.

Sonia C

Obviously this is the biggie- the ultimate musical which has taken on a life of it's own (thanks Susan Boyle!). It is the quintessential West End experience & fortunately lives up to the hype. A fabulous set showcases the epic songs & our tragic tale unfolds with a comic injection courtesy of the hapless Monsieur Thénardier. I laughed, I cried & even on my 5th viewing the hairs still stood up on the back of my neck.. Marveilleux et merci

Daniel L

There is a reason why this is running for as long as it has. The movie remake, though good, still cannot hold a candle to the actual theatre production. If you love the book, the movie, the french (everyone loves the french right..?) this is definitely a must-watch. Tickets are difficult to obtain but 1-2 months in advance should be safe. Seen these a few times through multiple casts and most of the casting is always excellent, even the substitutes are amazing.

Luisa G

How anyone can rate this below a 5 star is beyond me. Beautiful acting, so moving, wonderful sets, gorgeous theatre. I cry every time I go and see it. I was lucky enough to have a ticket to the 30th anniversary gala performance, where the initial cast came and sung - truly beautiful!

Bonnie W

One of my all time favourite shows on the West End! I recently saw it for the second time and will definitely go see it again. Unfortunately, because the set is so large for some scenes, even when I had bought a £45 ticket the first time I saw it, the view was slightly restricted. The second time around, I splurged on a £70 ticket and it was well worth it! The calibre of singing from all the actors is incredible and I like how it seems every cast member gets at least a few bars to sing on their own throughout the show. I saw the movie first and didn’t really enjoy it. Don’t let this turn you off of seeing the musical though - it is so much better!

Debs B

We missed it! 😱 My daughter took I'll and we gave our tickets to friends. Tho? They loved it. We hope to go tonight if we can get good seats.

Emma T

The songs are stunning, the performances from the whole cast are incredible and the stage design is hugely impressive. There's nothing not to love - if you want to see a show that will excite you and, ultimately, move you, this is the one!! Still my favourite musical after all these years.

Lucy Loo

I've been to see Les Miserables with my family fice times now and it never disappoints. I can't imagine anyone not absolutely loving it. The production is always outstanding, there are always incredible performances and those songs are in my head for days afterwards (in a good way!) If you've never been - you must go and see the fabulous Les Mis... there is a very good reason why it is still in the West End after 30 years!

moderatorStaff Writer

No self respecting theatre lover can consider their West End Theatre CV complete without a trip to Les Miserables, it's an absolute powerhouse of a musical and quite rightly lauded as one of the best long running shows in London.


This musical is amazing. I had seen the movie and then went to see it in the theater. I just loved it. Excellent set designs, nice performances, music to remember after show. I would definitely suggest it for a West End night out!

Emma S

Stunning! I love this show so much, I must have seen it five times now and I cry every time. If you haven't seen it before, you absolutely must. You will not regret it. 


I was lucky enough to see the show on it's 30th birthday. It hasn't lost any of it's freshness and is as relevant to audiences now as it was in 1985. The show does not need celebrity names to keep the audiences coming time and time again. The show will outlive us all I'm sure


Do you hear the people sing?! It's the sound of the audience shouting 'Encore'!

I cannot recommend this West End show highly enough, there's a reason why it is currently celebrating 30 years in the West End.

This show is a timeless masterpiece, probably the reason I've seen it at least 10 times. 

Songs, action, heart and staging is inspiring.

For a West End, tickets can be sought quite cheaply. 


I've seen this show 9 times and am getting withdrawal symptoms from not having been for 2 years.  I get a shiver down my spine when the first few notes of the show strike up.  The songs are wonderful and the interweaving plots set in the time of the French Resistance are engrossing. I feel that the level of performance has declined somewhat from former times but I still love it.  

Will J

I have watched Les Misérables the film many times and it is one of my favourites. Watching the musical at the theatre was certainly different but it was an equally enjoyable experience. I would add, though, it is important not to compare the two when watching them. The singing is majestic and the songs are performed incredibly well, particularly the songs ‘Master of the House’ and ‘One Day More’. The plot, on the other hand, may not have been easy to follow for someone who did not know the storyline. For example, the play highlights when the year changes from 1815 to 1823 but then does not make obvious the next skip in years. The fact it is set during the French Revolution is also not made clear, and the gun-battle scene springs upon you without much background. The performance of Jean Valjean by Peter Lockyer was solid if unspectacular, but he was out performed by Javert – the stringent, law-abiding officer played by Jeremy Secomb. Having said this, you will leave with goose-bumbs following an excellent and moving production of a classic story.

Pavlos G
Staff Writer

I loved this show. I was sat very high up but the view was not bad at all. The storyline was told very well, the scenes just changed from one to the other very quickly and this helped the story to flow smoothly. The music was great.


A group of four of us saw this show for the first time and we completely over whelmed by the simplicity of the props but despite this how powerfully the story was portrayed by the music & cast . Would highly recommended this show

Tom C

Even though we were told the seats would have a restricted view, we had no issues at all with seeing the stage. I have seen Les Mis several times before, and never tire of the story, with its mix of politics, love, and bravery.

Wayne Bateman

Les miserable was a power full and emotional show. At the end of the show I had teares in my eyes as it was so good and you could folow the story easrly.

David Griffin

Picking the cheapest seats with restricted views seemed a bit of a gamble at the time. However, except for the odd disappearing character and no view of the set stage right, this was a wonderful experience looking down as the tale unfolded and being captivated by the set changes and the use of the revolving centre stage - the players were able to move seemlessly from one scene to another. Described elsewhere as opera lite seems to sum up the music. Some moving songs spoiled in parts by a rambling score which required concentration and programme notes to keep a grip of the plot. It was also an effort to block out those in the audience who think it ok to chat during the action. Also, theatre staff should note that restocking (?) of the ladies loos during the performance is distracting - if you have a seat in the gods avoid the right hand side as staff seemed to be up and down the stairs on this side throughout the show. The cast had exceptional voices and the accoustics in the gods were excellent. Highly recommended and worth taking the risk of the cheaper seats.


Fabulous birthday weekend in London. We watched the Saturday matinee performance, which was just incredible. The music was fantastic and such an emotional and well executed performance. We arrived and collected the tickets from the box office which was totally hassle free and were taken straight to our seat. Thank you for a wonderful weekend.


I bought the tickets for my friend's birthday. She had seen it before but I hadn't. We were both very impressed - I thought the singing and the sets on stage were amazing and my friend said it was even better than she remembered. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon out - I would definitely recommend Les Mis to anyone.


What a fabulous show. Took the whole family for a christmas treat- inlcuding two teenagers! It certainly didn't disappoint. First saw this musical in London twenty three years ago. This version was stunning! Would recommend to friends and family.


Best show I've ever seen, singing was incredible. Worth every penny!


Really astonishing! I knew only the movie and I wondered how some scenes could be possible in a theatre. Well, lights can be very effective. The singers were incredibly good. I loved this show and want to come back soon again.


I went with my daughter to see this as a 16th birthday present for her as she loved the film so much. We were not disappointed, this is without doubt one of the best shows I have ever seen, it sent shivers down my spine on more than one occasion. And a few tears were also shed the best thing for me was bring told by my daughter that it was the best birthday present she had ever had. Would definatley go again.


Amazing musical with excellent performances and vocals. The songs and the scenography are superb as well! The actors are really great! Although I didn't like too much Cosette's voice, Amanda Seyfried's voice in the movie was so brilliant that I was expecting a better voice. Apart from that, 100% recommended!!!

Franck Duvell

Excellent performance, enjoyed every minute, the male voices are superb (though not all the female voices), also the kids are wonderful and their roles and voices a great surprise. Highly recommended (though not cheap)!

Kris Cadagan

A neighbor had suggested that we go and we were not disappointed. I can't say how much I enjoyed it. I have wanted to see Les Miserables for a long time so it was good to see it. The actors were terrific and the scenery was fantastic. Will recommend others not to miss the show.


I loved it. Great actors, talented and beautiful singing. Worth every penny :)


I watched it last Saturday. It was magnificent!!!! The cast, the music, the theatre were excellent!!! Love from Greece and hope to see such an excellent show again.


We really enjoy this musical. The music was good and the singing was excellent. We went for the afternoon matanee, it was not too expensive either. We would love to watch it again soon.

Ethel Sleith

Who would give this anything less than 5 stars? I'd give more if I could. Having seen the movie - and loving every minute of it! - I worried that another viewing of the stage production (I'd seen it 4 times already) might prove wanting in some way. Things are, after all, better on the big screen. How silly of me. From that first 'Da Daaaa' of the orchestra I was completely captivated. Another reviewer talks of moments of the production that elicit goosebumps. There are so many of those for me, one of the best being the rendition of One Day More. Just thinking about it brings a lump to my throat. An evening in the company of Valjean, Javert, Marius, Cosette, Eponine and the deliciously awful Thenardiers should be on the bucket list for every visitor to London.

Edward Franklin

Despite having run for over 25 years, there are moments of Trevor Nunn and John Caird's production that elicit goosebumps. The use of lighting to evoke atmospheres from a sweaty tavern to a bloody barricade and the use of the revolve to create spectacular, lasting stage images remain examples of supreme stagecraft, and remind us that the now-dated Nunn used to have a real knack for theatrical magic-making. Boublil and Schonberg's makes up for in scale and beauty what it occasionally lacks in nuance, and though the cast are doubtless hampered by the fact that they are working with 28 year-old blocking, they do a decent job of keeping the material fresh. 'Les Miserables' holds a special place in many people's hearts - mine included - for a variety of reasons; because it was one of their earliest experiences of a musical theatre score, in many cases. It is far from the best musical ever written, as a recent poll may have you believe, but it remains an emotional masterpiece and an example of theatre where spectacle does not preclude content.


Having seen the film it was time to see the show on stage. I don't think you can compare the two though. The vocals were good but not as strong as I had expected, the staging was amazing. A thoroughly enjoyable emotional roller coaster of an evening,

Kate Rushton

Do you hear the people sing? It is the sound of ‘Wow - that was worth every penny!’ As we all spent several hours engrossed in the journey of Les Miserables: Shedding a tear at the barricades, rejoicing when Cosette and Marius finally get together and crying once again when Val Jean dies. Until the final curtain falls, and we are left begging for more. Even though the male cast is slightly stronger than the female singers. And, at times, my view was a bit obscured. It did not detract from drama and spectacle of it all.

Amelia santos

Thank you so much for the wonderful evening!!I really loved it. I will always keep it with me. I appreciate everything!!! Many thanks Amelia


There is no point in reviewing Les Mis, as there are no words to describe how beautiful and splendid this musical is. i wouldn't know where to start, if I had to list the things I liked most - the whole experience is simply amazing, the whole atmosphere was breath-taking.

Melissa Garcia

A classic and must see show. The show was delightful! I was worried about it being fairly long but for a more classical musical, it was amazing. The cast, especially Rauth, had strong vocals and an amazing performance. The staging was well done in the relatively small theatre and the battle was exciting. Overall an exciting, heart wrenching, and enjoyable film.


The most amazing production I have ever seen and I've seen a lot. I ended up crying the acting the singing the dancing the lines were so perfect and emotional. This really is a must see play just because of how amazing it is. So much better than expected. Planning to see les miserables again haha.


To be honest I have fought going to see this musical ever since it opened, i was convinced i would hate it and had no interest in what i beleived the theme and storey was, but as one of my favourite actors and singers was in it "Ramin Karimloo" who i had seen many times as the Phantom and who I think is totally amazing, I decided that before he left the role if i was going to see it now was the time, Well what can I say? from saying that no show would ever take over as my favourite "Phantom of the Opera" how wrong could I be, Les Mis totally blew me away, it truly is the best I have ever seen, so much so, that immediately after seeing it my husband and I have booked to see it again in a weeks time and I cant wait, so if you have ever had doubts about seeing this fantastic show, take the plunge and give it a go, You surely wont be disappointed.

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