Why did I do this? Perhaps I needed to know why the rest of the world seems to love this so. I have always been something of an outsider and considered it to be a facet of my personality, for instance, I never found Morecambe and Wise funny. Many things that lots of others enjoyed just pass me by.
So when the OH suggested we go to see Les Miserables, the film version, I agreed partly as a reward for her agreeing to see The Hobbit as well as a bribe or quid pro quo for the imminent Django Unchained (which does not star Meryl Streep and has violence) partly also to satify my curiosity.
We should have known better. I had bought her a DVD of the twentieth anniversary performance and we only managed about half an hour. We had avoided reviews of the film which were of the Marmite variety, people either loved or hated it.
The opening scene was impressive and promised much but then it became clear that all the dialogue was to be sung, even the most mundane of exchanges. ( Duh , it is a musical; yes but so was West Side Story)
I would be less than honest if I said that I didn’t like it in parts, I enjoyed the performances of Russell Crowe, the corrupt Thenardiers played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as well as Hugh Jackman playing the hero Jean Valjean, the OH admired Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks (Eponine) for their vocal performances and ability. But the downsides for me were the lyrics, almost reaching Moon in June levels of doggerel , some of the casting, especially Eddie Redmayne and the girl who played the older Cosette, Cassette or Courgette (whatever). I really could not engage with them and, it was during their parts, that I was most aware of the seat becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
The most incongruous piece of casting, however, was the street urchin, Gavroche, well played but why so overtly cockney? It was if one of the cast of Oliver had sneaked in from a neighbouring sound-stage: “Dodjah, I wants you to pick that Russell Crowe’s pockit and bwing it back to your old friend Fagin
Overall, I can see why so many people love Les Miserables and go over and over again. But for me it is overly sentimental and mawkish.
But two days later, the ear worms have arrived. I can’t get some of the songs out of my head…Look down, Look down ( to the bottom of our stairs)….At the end of the day (it gets dark)……I dreamed a dream (I am having some toast)…. and so on . I am lost, it’s got me too.
What is the cure ? Where is my Black Lace CD………Agadoo, do do do push pineapple , shake the tree…….