Les Misérables is a big production in any sense of the word. Soaring music; complex seets and emotive characters, it needs performers of some stature and aturity to do it justice and the students at the Minster School did just that!

To a sell-out packed theatre, students performed no less than 6 stellar shows and received standing ovations at each.

'An overwhelming triumph', 'truly outstanding', 'emotionally brilliant' were just some of the comments received.

Due to the high standard of the audition process, the main roles for the show were all double cast, allowing two students to learn each principal role.... A review of one of the performances is below:

Ethan Wood, who played Jean Valjean, has to age the best part of 30 years from Act one to the finalé – not an easy task when you are still at school – but his performance had an assuredness and lightness of touch that made the transformations utterly believable. And Hannah Auld, too, gave a blistering performance of the tragic Fantine. Despite being a mere 18 years old, her range and acting ability was pitch perfect.

There were other fabulous turns from Tilly O'Flanagan and Daniel Janes as the Thénardiers; spinning from comic to sinister in the blink of an eye; from Logan Evans as the tortured Javert; Zak Stokes as Marius; Domenica Freeborn as a very convincing Eponine and Reuben Thrower who sparkled as Gavroche. None of the above, however, would have been able to sustain their roles with such conviction had not the rest of the cast been so supportive in theirs. The Minster School stage was packed with an amazing ensemble cast who pulled together to create something truly spectacular.

The spoken words in Les Mis are few, and cast had both the privilege and the challenge of a live orchestra. It makes a world of difference for the audience to have all of those instruments live, with numbers that can bring a grown woman or man to tears. The score was ably provided by the school orchestra of 15 truly talented musicians.

Staff are extremely proud of everyone involved in the production, not only for the performances seen on stage but for the way the whole cast came together to overcome the challenges of delivering such a mammoth production in the current 'unpredictable' world we live in.

Staff and students are not resting but looking forward to an Easter musical concert and Summer Shakespeare festival; its onwards and upwards for the Minster School Performing Arts Department in 2022.

Alison Soule