Hugo’s paintings the backdrop for Les Misérables at QPAC

Paintings of Paris by the creator of Les Misérables will become evocative backdrops for the ever-popular musical when it returns to Brisbane this year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the star-studded cast and crew of producer Cameron Mackintosh’s latest reworking of Les Misérables to QPAC on Monday.

Even almost 30 years on from when he first brought the musical to Australian stages, Mackintosh still barely believes its success.

“I could never have thought that all this time later I would be able to bring back a completely new version of the show.”

With a cast including Simon Gleeson, Hayden Tee, Patrice Tipoki and Lara Mulcahy, Mackintosh’s modern vision of the play has truly come to life.

Indeed, this version is very much new: the sets, costumes and scenery have all been freshened up.

“It’s fitting for QPAC to see out its 30th-anniversary year with the return of a blockbuster musical which, coincidentally, is also celebrating its 30th anniversary following its London debut in 1985,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“For 30 years, QPAC has welcomed more than 20 million visitors to around 26,000 performances.

“With this production of Les Misérables in November, we can expect to welcome thousands more.”

Actor Trevor Ashley, who portrays Thénardier, said the production was a true embodiment of Victor Hugo’s original work.

“My favourite part is that they’ve taken all of Victor Hugo’s paintings of Paris and used them as a backdrop, so you really feel like you’re walking into Les Mis the way he envisioned it.”

Simon Gleeson, who plays Jean Valjean and recently appeared in the Melbourne Theatre Company production Rupert, is relishing his starring role.

“These roles around the world are so iconic and so sought after that if you do have the opportunity to play them they are roles of a lifetime,” he said.

Renowned actor Simon Burke was cast as Marius in the original Australian production in 1987, and says he is indebted to the Mackintosh for the opportunities it provided.

“There’s nothing like the experience as a performer of being in Les Misérables . It’s unlike any show you will ever do in your life,” he said.

Les Misérables opens on November 10.

Originally published at brisbanetimes.com.au
Hugo’s paintings the backdrop for Les Miserables at QPAC