Voice 1: Are you a great fan of someone or something? If you are, you will understand the great lengths that some fans go to to support the person or sports team or pop group that interests them so much.
Voice 2: But even a dedicated fan might find it a bit difficult to understand the lengths that English super fan Sally Frith goes to to support the stage musical 'Les Miserables'. At the latest count, Sally has seen the show a staggering nine hundred and fifty-seven times. Yes, you heard correctly! Nine hundred and fifty-seven times!
Voice 1: Sally lives in the small town of Stroud, about are hundred and sixty kilometres north-west of London where the show has been playing since 1985. It's a four-hour round trip
from Sally's home to the Queen's Theatre in London, but each time the devoted super fan makes the journey she feels as if she is going to see the show for the first time. 'Each performance is slightly different,' she explains. 'I have never seen two performances that were identical.'
Voice 2: Sometimes Sally's mother goes with her to see the show and at other times friends join her on her 'Les Miseables' trips. One friend has seen the show more than three hundred
times herself, and others are quickly catching up. Sally also collects souvenirs of the show; programmes, T-shirts, badges, mugs and anything else she can get her hands on. She has stopped adding up how much her addiction has cost her over the years. Her friends estimate that she must have spent well over fifty thousand pounds – around six hundred thousand Hong Kong dollars – on her 'Les Miserables' addiction.
Voice 1: 'Les Miserables', or 'Les Mis' as fans call the show, is the world's longest running theatre musical. The recent film version has broken box-office records all over the world. The show is a musical adaptation of a classic French novel written in 1862 by Victor Hugo.
Voice 2: When 'Les Mis' opened in London in 1985, the reviews were not good. but audiences loved it and word of mouth soon turned the show into a massive hit. Today, the musical has been seen by over sixty million people in 42 countries all over the globe. Super fan Sally has travelled as far afield as the USA and Sweden to see her favourite show.
Voice 1: Sally regrets that she didn't see the show with its original cast when it first opened in London back in 1985. She didn't catch up with 'Les Mis' until three years later, and she was
immediately hooked. 'There is nothing in the world quite like the experience of seeing 'Les Miserables' live in a theatre. It is absolutely mind-blowing. 'Sally explains when asked about her 'Les Mis' addiction. ' I love the story, love the songs, everything about it.'
Voice 2: Fans come in all shapes and sizes and at all levels of fandom, but any fan anywhere has a long way to go to equal the devotion that Sally Frith shows to 'Les Mis'. She could have
bought a house or several new cars or had a few luxury holidays with the money she has spent on her addiction, but she doesn't think like that. 'Les Miserables' is the be-all and end-all to Sally Frith, and it will continue to dominate her life for long into the foreseeable future. 'Les Mis' definitely rules for this one unique and dedicated super fan!