AS you walk into the Hayling Community Centre this week, the impressive 24-piece orchestra and the complex lighting and sound systems that hang from the rigging are matched only by the Hayling Youngstars’ extraordinary performances in their latest show, Les Miserables.
Baritone Lucas Bradshaw cuts a traditionally stern Javert, the policeman’s severity and pompous arrogance brilliantly conveyed, and all with a voice far more pleasing to the ear than Russell Crowe’s!
Like leading man Aiden Hammond in the pivotal role of Jean Valjean, Bradshaw demonstrates a maturity beyond his years.
Emily Harkness’ Fantine is also utterly convincing; the same can be said of Jess Tame’s tragic Eponine and Jess Knight’s coy heroine Cosette, both of whom sing beautifully and burst with passion for the flawless Ewan Wharton as the romantic Marius. Even the stoniest of hearts will struggle to keep a dry eye when faced with these young talents.
The ensemble are equally well drilled; every chorus number hits the audience between the eyes. The punchy energy is vitalising.
The remarkable musical score is spine-tinglingly moving throughout and, ably conducted by the brilliant Darren Alderton, sounds as fine as the West End’s own.
The Youngstars’ youngest stars are also on show, with Joe Coates’ confident display as the plucky Gavroche and Daisy Harkness providing the ‘cute’ young Cosette.
Special mention must also go to Jonah Ford as Thernardier, he is brilliantly accomplished for a teenager alongside Beth Knight as Madame Thernadier.
Enjorlras (Ethan Emery) and Grantaire (Anthony Davies) are as passionate as Ford and Knight are hilarious.
In fact, there is only one conclusion to reach at the end of this emotional and rousing show – that Youngstars is as aptly named as any youth company in existence.
To use the final words of the musical itself, Hayling Youngstars are clearly ‘the future that we bring when tomorrow comes’.
Les Miserables runs until Saturday. June 3.
Tickets are £12 from the community centre or online from haylingmusical.com.