Preview: Les Miserables, Broughton High School

Captivate Drama at Broughton High School's theatre in Les Miserables. Pic: Comp
Captivate Drama at Broughton High School's theatre in Les Miserables. Pic: Comp
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LOCAL amateur company Captivate Drama are at home on the stage of Broughton High School’s theatre this week, in the Schools Edition of what is arguably the greatest musical of all time, Les Miserables.

Founded in 2009 by director Sally Lyall, the company’s latest production of the Broadway and West End smash tells the story of Jean Valjean, a man imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread and now on the run from the authorities.

Seen by more than 65 million people in 42 countries and in 22 languages around the globe, Les Mis is set against the backdrop of 19th-century France.

Ex-convict Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. Featuring the now classic songs Bring Him Home, One Day More, On My Own and I Dreamed A Dream, made famous by Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent, Les Miserables has been running on the West End for 29 years now.

Similarly, many of the young Captivate company, all under 21, have played their roles over a number of years - just not quite so many.

Sally Lyall explains, “In April 2011 we held auditions for our first production of Les Miserables. I realise now just how lucky we were to get such a talented group of performers. Many have been with us ever since.

“Licensing restrictions dictate that performers have to be 19 or under at the time of rehearsals so many of this wonderful group will soon be too old to do it again. However we felt we had to do it one more time.” Since August 2011, Captivate have put on no less than 70 performances, 52 of them at the Fringe. Previous productions have included Rent, Spring Awakening, Oliver!, Whistle Down the Wind, Oh! What a Lovely War and, of course, the previous productions of Les Mis.

Musical director Tommie Travers says, “Les Mis is much more than just a show to me, it’s a way of life. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t listen to its incredible score or sit down and play it at the piano. It has the power to move and inspire. After all, it is ultimately a simple story of hope, compassion and love.”

Les Miserables, Broughton High School Theatre, until tomorrow, 7pm, (matinee 2pm), £10- £12, 07546-213 274