Miss Saigon: Review
It is unsurprising to hear that Lawrence Connor’s new production of Miss Saigon broke box office records on its first day of sales. Boubil and Schönberg’s musical can only be described as epic in all proportions yet still manages to produce a truly superb show.
The musical famously takes its central ideas from the opera Madame Butterfly, yet transfers the location to 1970s Vietnam as Saigon falls, making the doomed relationship between bar worker Kim, and American GI, Chris.
|Eva Noblezada (Kim) and Sangwoong Jo (Thuy)|
Eva Noblezada shone as Kim in her professional and West End debut, and is clearly deserving of her Whatsonstage Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Her desperation in caring for her son, and in discovering she is doomed to never be with Chris, was positively heart-breaking.
Chris Peluso, as Chris, sung well but it was hard to like his character. In contrast, Ethan Le Phong (Thuy) was superbly determined for Kim to return his love. Hugh Maynard (John) left a chilling and poignant message in Act 2 opener, Bui Doi, reminding us how that the true effects of war goes further than just who lives and who dies.
The show was stolen, however, by Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer. Having featured in the original production in 1989, Briones’ Engineer was vulgar and brash, with his rendition of The American Dream a visual masterpiece.
|Ho Chi Minh City. The Morning of the Dragon.|
Totie Driver and Matt Kinley’s set design was superb, ranging from the neon slickness of Bangok to the extraordinary and impressive scenes at the fall of Saigon featuring the world-famous helicopter which was even more impressive than expected.
What is clear from the new production Miss Saigon is that it if more orientated on the political nature of the musical. The capitalist ventures of America seem mirrored in the doomed entrepreneurship of The Engineer, whilst Kim kills herself in order to ensure her son gets a better life in America. It is a real shame that a musical that takes itself seriously enough to carry such heavyweight themes so well is to leave London in February 2016, but this is definitely a spectacle not to miss.
Miss Saigon is running at the Prince Edward Theatre until the 27th February 2016. Tickets are available from 0844 482 5155 or on https://tickets.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/index.asp?ShoID=1386.