I don’t know if their production of Les Miserables counts towards a final examination grade, but if so, then I predict straight A grades for the Performing Arts students of the Northern Regional College’s Ballymoney campus.
Playing outside the campus for the first time, in the Riverside Theatre, the show was a cracker from the moment we entered the theatre with an outstanding set which portrayed the under-belly of France in 1815 to great effect.
Les Miserables is a HUGE undertaking for any adult, professional cast so congratulations must go to this young cast who tackled the winding and wordy - and totally sung - script with great attack.
All the principals were strong with Brandon Lyons and Joel Murphy as Jean Valjean and Javert particularly talented performers.
There was a real sense of togetherness and bonding among all the main principals and it was fantastic to see such strength in the secondary characters too.
One such example was Emmet Mullan who appeared as the Bishop, the factory foreman, a “wronged” gentleman and a revolutionary - playing each one differently. Another was a member of the female chorus who was involved in the factory cat fight with Fantine. Not the biggest of parts but this young woman sang each word with crystal diction and great understanding - which goes to show that even if you are “just in the chorus” you can still stand out.
As an ensemble, this group worked beautifully together and the battle scenes on the barricades were outstanding.
The tears being wiped away secretly during ‘Bring Him Home’ and Eponine’s death and the standing ovation at the finale were testament to how much we, as an audience, enjoyed the production.
A+ grades all round, teachers!