2018 Shows

Les Misérables
South Valley Youth Theater
August 2, 2018
Sabrina Jones and Gordon Jones, reviewers

South Valley Youth Theater has produced a very creditable production of Les Misérables, playing at the Alder Amphitheater on the Salt Lake Community College Campus August 2-11, except Sunday and Tuesday. With a huge cast, Director Bridges Sayers and Music Director Jeannine Hawkins have provided dozens of young people an opportunity to experience musical theater from behind the footlights (if there were footlights).

The production is not without its problems, many of them due to the outdoor location. Mic levels were frequently uncertain, and the lighting became problematic after dark. Since we saw the opening night performance (and Cast A), we assume that some of those problems will be worked out for later performances. In any case, the principal characters had voices adequate to their roles, and in some cases, such as Lauren Crockett as Cosette, Avery Kenison as Eponine, and Jeremiah Sandberg as Enjolras, more than adequate. Kanoa DeOllos, Aedan Hawkins, and Max Carter as Javert, Jean Valjean and Marius respectively, sang well when the music was within their range. The best demonstration of their powers comes with “One Day More” at the end of Act I, which was exemplary.

The Thénardiers and Gavroche often steal this show, but the parts have to be played straight, not for laughs. As Gavroche, Thomas Bullen showed how that is done; Hailey Sewell and (especially) Thomas Stay, less well.

The ensemble was well-trained and effective for the most part. The choreography by Kambri Hatton was appropriate, especially the minuet during the revelation scene in the second act. Hand choreography was also frequently effective, and the split-second movements of a very large dance ensemble.

Les Misérables remains, as it has been since Victor Hugo wrote it, a pot-boiler, but it is a pot that boils with a heart of gold, providing an eternal message of forgiveness and the redemptive power of love.
Subpages (1): Les Miserables 2018