The chorus all sang together and all managed to maintain passion and focus, the solos and duets were moving, the marches were rousing and the crescendos inspired. As well should they should be with any production of Les Mis. For me, Les Mis is all about the powerful songs, and the young cast certainly did not spare the passion in their first night’s performance. All the lead cast sang way above their years, but special mention must be made of Gerard Smith (playing Javert) and Rebecca Goldie (playing Fantine): Both had wonderfully full and controlled voices, and both seem to hit the tone of their respective characters perfectly. And who could forget Tomas Wolstenholme (Jean Valjean), who reached and held the most incredible notes without a waver. Whoever cast them; good choice!
I should take this opportunity to point out that the whole production was cast and rehearsed in a mere seven days. Seven days! That is really something. Not the single misstep or missed line, only one hesitation and a relaxed (as much as possible) atmosphere belied this ridiculously short prep time.
The only real problem was constant difficulties with microphones, which was such a shame given the range of high quality voices present. With so many people on stage it proved difficult to get the individual mic volumes right: Some really decent voices were completely drowned out by the music and some were made too loud. Of course, in everybody's defence, it should be noted that singing into an attached microphone is completely different to singing unenhanced, and I highly doubt they had time for more than one or two rehearsals with the mics. It should also be noted that as the only criticism for a seven-day rehearsed amateur production this comment should rightly be seen as high praise rather than censure.
All in all, I was genuinely impressed. I was moved when I should have been moved, roused when I should have been roused, and left with the songs still on my lips. Good, good stuff.