As keen followers of the debate around the casting of the O2 Les Miserables concert, we were stunned by an article we found at the Daily Mail online dated 25th November 2010, where Cameron Mackintosh referred to Alfie Boe as ‘a revelation in the O2 concert and I believe he has the kind of sound we’ll need for the movie. What doesn’t work is shrieking theatre voices’. What shrieking was he referring to, we ask ourselves? What a terrible, 25-year ordeal for young Cameron as he endures the strident tones of the likes of Colm Wilkinson and his successors. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Call us paranoid, but we can’t help feeling that Alfie is being ‘groomed’ for the role, and repackaged as a Musical Theatre performer for our delectation. On the back of his appearance at the O2 concert, Boe has brought out a Musical Theatre album which has now gone gold, no doubt a barometer of popularity which Cameron Mackintosh will be watching with interest. No disrespect to Boe, but he is an opera singer, and the announcement that he will perform 6 nights a week shows that he is not yet ready for the rigours of Musical Theatre. Amongst the praise for his voice are many comments about his lack of acting ability and expression, qualities we would have thought are vital to screen acting.
On a not unrelated note, we read in the Evening Standard (9th February 2011) that Matt Lucas has landed the role of Thenerdier in Les Miserables after receiving ‘rave reviews’ at his O2 performance. We looked very hard for these rave reviews, but could only find luke-warm praise at best. We did find a reference to a standing ovation, but this was before he started singing. The Times hit the spot with the phrase ‘impressed the bosses’. Of course he impressed them – he is another star name for the show. Then we have Lucas rumoured to do a guest spot on ‘Glee’ the American musical theatre based show. A perfect way to get him categorised as a Musical Theatre performer in the same league as previous guests such as Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Glee is fast becoming a conveyor belt of ‘names’ and is no doubt the fast track to getting Lucas branded as a suitable star for the film. We are sure it is no coincidence that Matt Lucas and comedy partner David Walliams now have an international TV following for their comedy, and well deserved it is. We wouldn’t be surprised if it is this, rather than his musical talents, which has impressed Mackintosh.