Dream comes true as show gets audience on its feet

King Edward VI School pupils in the middle of a musical number during their performance of Les Miserables.
King Edward VI School pupils in the middle of a musical number during their performance of Les Miserables.

A MORPETH school’s dream to get standing ovations for its 2013 musical became a reality after it put on four stellar shows.

Packed audiences at King Edward VI School were extremely impressed with the performances of Les Miserables, which involved more than 70 pupils.

A team of staff and a few former students also played their part in bringing the epic story – set in 19th Century France – to life on the stage.

Some of them went to see the production in the West End before rehearsals began for the school edition of Les Mis in September.

The KEVI performances of the sung-through musical were directed and produced by Expressive and Performing Arts teacher Felicity Finch. She explained that rehearsals concentrated on learning the score between October and December before going through each scene in detail.

“The cast were very dedicated and I was amazed by how well they were able to blend together the music and drama,” she added.

“Their levels of performance were astonishing each night and I’m very proud of them. They have developed so much from when we started rehearsals.

“All those involved had to be fully prepared, for example the set changes needed to be timed to perfection otherwise the scene would be out-of-sync, and everyone’s hard work paid off as each show was fantastic.

“We chose to do Les Mis last summer, so the film version coming out in January was purely coincidental.

“I was worried at one point because there is more acting in the film than was allowed in our production, but it actually helped because this is a complex story and most of the audience each night fully knew how the story was progressing because they had seen the film.”

The plot deals with a number of themes such as dealing with poverty, prejudice, love, redemption and the fight for freedom.

Year 13 student Jonny Roxburgh played the lead character Jean Valjean, who works hard to become a pillar of a community after serving 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread.

He said: “There were some parts to it which were challenging, but overall it was a lot of fun and I’ve made many new friends.

“After all the rehearsals, it was great to perform Les Mis in front of an audience because it gave us a chance to tweak a few things in the other three shows based on the reactions we were getting.

“Everyone did a great job and the entire chorus were amazing. They gave up even more time than we did to make sure they were ready for the shows.”

Among those playing other important parts was Dean Clark, also in Year 13. He took on the role of Marius.

“It was nice to get a good response from the audiences during our performances, whether it was laughs, gasps or applause, and we didn’t expect to get standing ovations each time,” he said.

The other main cast members were Jack Ward (Inspector Javert), Chloe Dodd (Cosette), Rebecca Cowell (Eponine), Tristan Selden (Thenardier), Lauren Gordon (Fantine), Andrew Scott (Enjolras), Jade Donaldson (Mme Thenardier), Marion Peters (Gavroche) and Emily Arkle (Little Cosette).

KEVI Headteacher Simon Taylor said: “The shows were magnificent and it was lovely to receive so many congratulatory letters from members of the community.”