Adelaide Youth Theatre
The Auditorium - Influencers Church
Until 16 Jan 2021

Review by Janice Bailey

Good musical theatre creates the joy of shared humanity. Musical theatre par excellence does the same but with the added desire of the audience to hold the feelings created for as long as possible. Adelaide Youth Theatre’s current production of Boublil and Schönberg’s “Les Misérables” gives the audience what they want in spades. The opening night performance, under the direction of Ray Cullen and Musical Director, Mark Stefanoff, was inspiring and at times breathtaking as the audience witnessed the talent and enthusiasm that these young performers exude.

The venue is perfect for this show as the room is large and the sound fills the space. The orchestra, under the experienced baton of conductor, Mark Delaine, pay homage to the magnificent music of Claude-Michele Schonberg. Centred on the floor below the stage instead of in a ‘pit’, the orchestra takes on a leading role. It is an added bonus for the audience to witness how hard each member of the orchestra and the conductor work in order to bring a musical of this calibre to fruition.

As with all AYT productions, there are two alternating casts, providing the opportunity for more of these extraordinarily talented young people to gain experience and hone their talents. While every cast member gives their all, Matt Monti as Javert and Aj Patel as Marius provide strong vocals and characterisations in their roles while EJ Downing is outstanding as Eponine. Connor Olsson-Jones in the pivotal and difficult role of Jean Valjean gives a steadfast and consistent performance throughout. Harrison Thomas as Gavroche is cheekily charming while Liam Tomlin and Diana Baddams as Monsieur and Madame Thenardier provide the comedy in their ‘bigger than life’ characterisations. Without a hardworking and talented ensemble, a musical of this calibre would have the impact required – every member has an important role to play and a story to tell and they do it with enthusiasm. Well done AYT!