After more than 10 years of awards and sold-out houses, Les Miserables remains a show which is rather misunderstood.

The production photography of actors in rags, shuffling their way across dark, gloomy sets, and earnest young men holding flags aloft has led people to believe that the show isn't exactly a barrel of laughs.

Which it isn't. But that doesn't mean it can't be uplifting. In fact Les Miserables is the greatest emotional work-out in modern musical theatre.

There are few more improbable texts than Victor Hugo's nineteenth-century novel to make a successful transition to the consistently popular area of musical theatre. But Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's adaption concentrates on strong characters such as Jean Valjean, the man who spends his life on the run from the lawman Javert and fulfils his promise to a dying woman that he will take care of the daughter she was forced into prostitution to support. The message that runs through is one of honour and courage, to fight for the love of one's country and those we hold most dear.

With thoughtfully designed but sparse sets and costumes, Les Miserables rises or falls on the strength of its singing - and in this three-month run with Jeff Leyton as Jean Valjean, Peter Corry as Javert, Carmen Cusack as Fantine, and Alex Sharpe as Eponine; the songs which have become modern classics are delivered with the required fragility or strength; in most cases, a delicate balance of both.

There is nothing highbrow about Les Miserables. It touches on the best and worst of the human

condition and ultimately succeeds through outstanding performances. The night I was there Jimmy Logan was the first in the circle to give the cast a deserved standing ovation - how much more of a recommendation do

you need?