REVIEW: Les Miserables arrives at Thomas Clarkson CC in Wisbech

THIS week’s exhilarating, and breathtaking performance of Les Miserables by students from Thomas Clarkson Community College, Wisbech, is unquestionably a decisive turning point in the school’s fortunes.

Those of us lucky enough to have seen it will remember for many years not only the sheer technical brilliance of the directing but the exuberance, maturity and supreme confidence exuded by cast members.

The 50 strong cast and 60 strong production crew – not forgetting the orchestra comprising of many staff members- created a stunning experience that had many in the audience tearful with delight at what was being accomplished.

The casting was extraordinary bringing together a vast and diverse group of students- many juggling with exams at the same time as they rehearsed for the show- to provide a compelling theatrical moment.

For many hours afterwards, both during a long journey home interspersed with a late dinner in an Indian restaurant, I tried, haphazardly and unsuccessfully too as it turned out, to try and put the show into some sort of perspective given what I know of the troubled past of the school. I gave up, recognising that despite the oft reported mutterings of Ofsted and the constant battle to improve academic performance, that something very special with an almost magical quality had engulfed the air in and around the Thomas Clarkson school.

Bringing together a cast of this magnitude, and a musical as deeply complex and challenging as Les Mis, would have been as unlikely a few years back as expecting England to win a World Cup final.

That is has now been done, and with a performance as enriching and extraordinary as that now being played out to capacity audiences, speaks wonders for the vision and perspective given to the school’s outlook by the current leadership.

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One swallow doesn’t make a spring but this, in reality, was no seasonal blip but a fully fledged statement of faith that at long last, the Thomas Clarkson has not only turned a corner but is breezing confidently down the home straight.

Les Miserables is truly, utterly wondrous.

Tonight’s performance is, I’m told, a sell out and so with only tomorrow’s performance to go the likelihood is that the remaining tickets for that performance will be snapped up quickly, and deservedly so.

• Next week’s Wisbech Standard will feature a roll of honour of those who excelled on the night- I promise it be will be a lengthy list!