On a cold December night we were ushered in to the hedonistic pleasures of the ‘Dreamland’ bar and brothel where temptation was promising for US marines who were desperate to let loose now that they were soon to be leaving in the wake of the Vietnam War. Unbeknown to our romantic leads, this was a night with ramifications that would continue for years to come.
The irony of the ‘Dreamland’ bar was that it could be seen to be a place where nightmares began rather than where dreams were made. Behind the facade of the neon lights and promise of a good time there was a dark storm brewing where innocence would be lost and courage found all in one night.
Miss Saigon is steeped in history with the story based on Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly and similarly tells the tale of doomed romance. The musical was inspired by a photograph that the saw in a magazine of a Vietnamese mother leaving her child at a departure gate ready to board a plane to meet their ex-military father. The idea of ‘ultimate sacrifice’ is the overriding theme in the show and what limits people are pushed to and prepared to do for a better life.
Sooha Kim and Gerald Santos
One of the main attractions of this show is the incredible vocal talent of its main characters Kim and Chris played by Sooha Kim and Ashley Gilmour respectively and the songs that bring the emotional tale of the show to the fore including ‘Movie in My Mind’, ‘I’d Give My Life For You’ and ‘Sun and Moon’.
The Engineer played by Red Concepcion almost stole the show away with his incredible energy and show stopping performances which showcased his subplot and ploy to get to America and carve out a glamorous career on the back of Kim and Chris’ plan to be together.
I would say that due to the sexual themes and nature of the show it wouldn’t be suitable for a younger audience and understood more by an older audience.
Ashley Gilmour and Sooha Kim
The performances are on a huge scale and huge props to the production designers Totie Driver and Matt Kinley who managed to capture the period and era with war photography inspired scenes and of course the helicopter appearance which I won’t spoil for those who are yet to see the show, but it didn’t disappoint!
Miss Saigon is a visually beautiful and emotional rollercoaster of cursed love that shows the spoils of war and how the most innocent can get caught up in circumstances out of their control.
From last night’s performance and the audience’s emotional response it was clear to see that the Cameron Mackintosh 2017 tour of Miss Saigon has reestablished its place as one of the best musical’s to grace the West End and Broadway.
Until January 6.