Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Theater Review: Les Miserables

Wife and I went to see the Broadway Series presentation of Les Miserables last week at IU Auditorium. Wife was especially excited that a former High School classmate of hers was cast as Enjolras.

It was a bitter cold night in Indiana, and it didn't take long for us to find fault with the Auditorium's accommodations. Surrounded by parking lots that require an IU Parking Permit, the Auditorium's closest available patron parking was an open air parking garage a good 10 minute walk away -- which felt like 30 minutes in the windy March air. STRIKE ONE! We easily stretched that 10 minute walk to 15 for the lack of any directional guidance to the Auditorium. We could easily have seen half the campus before finding our seats in the balcony. STRIKE TWO!

It's a nice looking Auditorium inside -- it makes you feel like you're at the theater. From our front row balcony seats we had a surprisingly complete view of the large rotating stage that has no doubt seen many miles in one of the many Les Mis semis parked outside.

To the credit of all parties involved, the lights dimmed on time and the show started promptly. If only others who purchased seats in our section had arrived as promptly, there would have been no ushers stumbling in the dark with flashlights directing the inconsiderate latecomers to their seats -- flashlights that may just as well have been the stage lights swung out on the audience. Those who can't be seated before the lights go down should be corralled outside the Auditorium until the lights come back up at Intermission. FOUL TIP.

Before long things were well under way and the cast presented themselves quite well for opening night. Wife was impressed with Old Classmate's performance and quite pleased to see he's become successful. Intermission was brief and the shorter Act II began just as promptly as its considerably longer predecessor. The entire troupe presenting the show is to be commended for a job well done. IN-THE-PARK HOMERUN.

The Barbarians sitting next to us who apparently couldn't follow the action without repeatedly flashing their annoying blue flashlights and consulting their Playbills, and who later found it necessary to slip out like stealthy elephants 10 minutes before the curtain call, should have their theater privileges eternally revoked. EJECTED FROM THE GAME!

As the cast took to the stage after the show, Wife and I were both shocked and disappointed when we found ourselves among the very few who appreciated the troupe's efforts enough to show our gratitude on our feet. I guess those around us sitting on their brains were warming them up for the cold walk back to their cars. BANNED FOR LIFE!

Wife and I made the cold trek to the car agreeing that the show was enjoyable, the audience was either ungrateful or unconscious, the weather was too cold for March, and that IU Auditorium was far from our venue of choice.

Bottom Line: see the show, but see it anywhere but Bloomington!

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