WHEN you put the words Les Misérables and school edition together it can only mean one of two things. It could be a disaster or you will have a stage full of hungry and passionate young actors trying to show what they can do. 

For BATS Next Gen it was very much the latter. 

Taking on one of the longest running and much loved musicals to grace the stage was a brave move for director Gary J Myers, but it was a gamble that certainly paid off. 

For those not in the know, the tale follows the story of Jean Valjean (Jacob Marshall), a former convict who spends a lifetime seeking redemption, set against the backdrop of 19th century France and the aftermath of the French Revolution.

Pursued by Inspector Javert (Matt Roberts) Valjean's journey takes many twists and turns through the changing French Landscape. For those who are familiar with Les Misérables they know the chemistry between Valjean and Javert is critical and Marshall and Roberts had both their roles nailed. 

The other cause for concern would be how would this young cast tackle those memorable Les Mis songs, well these were washed away when Sienna Hughes - playing Fantine - burst into I Dreamed a Dream and did not miss a note. 

By the time the interval came around I was fully invested in the cast and had completely forgotten that I was watching a show of young amateur actors, who based on this performance, all have the world at their feet. 

As the second half started the question I asked myself was how are they going to pull off the famous barricade scene, but when I saw the set piece come out I was blown away and could not help but respect the amount of work that had gone into this production. They even pulled off the iconic scene of Enjolras - played by Harley Emmitt - hanging from the barricade covered in the revolutionary flag to perfection. 

All the leads had their chance to shine with flawless solos, with Thenardier and Madame Thenardier (Tom Sherry and Molly Abley respectively) comically times Master of the House a personal favourite. 

However, it was Marshall who gave a powerhouse performance as Jean Valjean, having really embraced the character’s passion every step of the way, and the young man looks like he is destined for a career on the stage. 

Despite a few hi-cups with microphones clipping it was no wonder that a sold out Haymarket was on its feet giving a standing ovation come the time of the curtain closing.