Heavens, know your Misérables now

Comprehensive spoilers for Les Misérables. Obviously.

I bloody love a bit of Les Misérables. Here’s a quick character review for those reluctant cinema-goers complaining that the film was hard to follow.*

*I’ve got nothing for those of you complaining that it was too long and melodramatic – LOL, welcome to musicals, n00bs!

Jean Valjean: Hero, convict, bread enthusiast

Valjean steals ‘a mouthful’ of bread and gets imprisoned for 19 years. Seems harsh, but this is post-revolutionary France, bitches. On his release from prison, Valjean skips parole and buys a small child from an innkeeper. No one questions this.

Appearance: Serious. Tortured. Increasingly whiskery.
Strength: +10
Tragedy: +7
Death by: Chair.

Javert: Policeman, fanatic, buzzkill

Tracks Valjean through the decades with a fervour that some may call ‘faintly homoerotic’. Has to sing worst sentence of exposition ever; ‘I’m Javert – do not forget my name.’ Yeah, note it down, kids! I love Javert, and would consider hosting a bi-weekly sung-through podcast with a group of likeminded fans.

Appearance: Dorky.
Solo number: Awesome.
Tragedy: +9
Death by: Thrilling bridge plunge.

Fantine: Single mother, prostitute, corpse

Fantine loses her job, sells her teeth and hair, becomes a prostitute and drops dead. Seems like she could’ve got a bit of work utilising her factory-honed sewing skills, but whatever. Fantine sings ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, a song that I spent some confused teen years believing was literally about tigers.

Appearance: Ghostly.
Teeth: -4
Tragedy: +10
Death by: …TB? It’s kind of fetching and gamine, whatever it is.

Cosette: Schmosette

Cosette is adored by both Marius and Valjean, despite being the most vapid character ever created. Child-Cosette is traditionally played by a Bambi-eyed brat with a voice like a sack of sad geese, but the recent fad for child actors with actual talent has removed even this spark of hilarity from the role. She is one of the few characters to survive this bloodbath. I know, right?

Appearance: Blonde. Simpering.
Bridalwear: Flouncy.
Tragedy: +1
Death by: N/A

Marius & Friends: Students, revolutionaries, sexpots

Marius and his mates are going to lead a rebellion against the… monarchy, because… everyone is starving? And General Lamarque is dead, and – look, I’m just here for the songs. Go to fecking Wikipedia if you’re so interested all of a sudden. FFS. Marius marries Cosette, a union that is celebrated in the little-known post-encore ballad ‘O, We Should’ve Registered For A Personality To Split Between Us Instead Of This Wheel Of Reblochon.’

Appearance: Dangerously tight-panted.
Bromance: +10
Tragedy: +10
Death by: Youthful idealism (except Marius)

The Thénardiers: Innkeepers, crooks, light relief

Always get an enormous laugh for saying ‘shit’ and making a joke about knobs. In the outside world, this would barely pass as witty, but wedged into a theatre with a thousand sobbing pensioners, it’s the funniest thing ever. The Thénadiers sell Cosette to Valjean, steal jewellery from wounded soldiers, crash a wedding and don’t even die. Yeah, life ain’t fair. *Gallic shrug*

Appearance: Threateningly jovial
Swears: +3
Tragedy: 0
Death by: N/A

Colm Wilkinson’s mouth: Soulful, mesmerising, weird

Whether singing ‘Bring Him Home’ with lip-wobbling intensity or controversially changing ‘I have bought your soul for God’ to ‘I have saved your soul for God’, Colm Wilkinson’s mouth is the gymnastic orifice that holds every myriad version of Les Misérables together. It’s stored in cryogenic suspension in a clinic in Switzerland– performance requests must be made in writing.

Appearance: Improbable.
Bendiness: +100
Tragedy: 0
Death by: N/A  – love never dies

Honourable mentions:

Éponine: Raised by crooks, ignored by Marius, killed by the police. *Gallic shrug*

Gavroche: Tuneful street urchin. Everyone is secretly relieved when he’s shot.

Rich dude: Tussles with Fantine. Sings three lines as if he’s auditioning for a residency in Las Vegas. This guy rocks.

Pulteney Weir: Ever looked down at Pulteney Weir and wondered what it’d be like to fall in? Now we know! Thank you, Hollywood.

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