I have always been into musicals, theater and even opera…
Sadly as I have grown up I do not have as much time as I did when I was younger. The last show I went to see would have been The phantom of the opera in London. That show absolutely blew me away. The phantom of the opera soundtrack, story, production and even through to the film have been one of my many favorites of all time. The show was the icing on the cake for me.
I will start this review with – Miss Saigon shocked me.
I expected it to be good, but I never imagined it would or could be executed and performed in such an amazing way.
I will give Miss Saigon 5/5. It is #2 of my favorite shows I have ever seen.
Let me go into a bit more detail of the story and why I feel it was executed so perfectly.
Based on Madame Butterfly, the show tells the story of an American solder during the Vietnam War who falls in love and marries a Vietnamese girl. They are torn apart during the fall of Saigon and the communist take over of the country. He doesn’t know if she is dead or alive…. in turn after grieving he eventually moves on with his life in America, marrying a new woman and falling in love once again.
While he is building his new life; she is fighting her way out of the country and trying to reunite with her love as well as tell him about their young son.
Each member of the cast brought something special to the stage.
I could gush about the cast for ages but a few things that really stood out for me were:
Sooha Kim – She executed her role flawlessly, not only did she portray a innocent young girl but she had passion, power and fire. Sooha Kim made her professional debut in this recent production of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre where she covered the role of Kim before going on to play the role in the Japanese production.
Ashley Gilmour – He worked extremely well with Sooha. The emotion not only in his face and voice but also in his movements and touch had the audience convinced his loved her. Ashley Gilmour also appeared in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. His most recent credits include playing Link Larkin in the national tour of Hairspray.
Red Concepcion – He was the clown of the show, someone who you love to hate! His acting is second to none and the way that he conducted the audience was superb, it felt like you were the only person in the room. Red Concepcion’s many theatre credits in his native Philippines include Adam/Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert for which he won the ALIW Award and Gawah Buhay Award, Tommy in TheNormal Heart and Alan Strang in Equus as well as the musicals West Side Story and Hairspray.
Ryan O’Gorman – He was a mans man, a young lad that wanted a laugh. His transition from the young naive boy to a caring, trusting man was exceptional. I felt with Ryan you could see his journey although they didn’t show ‘too much’ of it. Ryan O’Gorman is currently starring in the UK tour of Rent in the role of Tom Collins. His other theatre credits include Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Billy Elliot.
Zoë Doano – Zoe’s character all be it relatively small on the grand scheme of things; touched me. Her pain, love and uncertainty was portrayed flawlessly, so much so it had me shed a tear. Zoë Doano’s many West End theatre credits include Cosette in Les Misérables, Johanna in Sweeney Todd and most recently Grazia in Death Takes A Holiday. She has also appeared in the national tours of The Sound of Music and High Society.
Marsha Songcome – Not only the most stunning but her power, determination and the fact she is totally disillusioned is shown perfectly. The show wouldn’t have been the same without her. Marsha Songcome returns to the musical after playing Gigi at the Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End. Other theatre credits include Disney’s Aladdin and Mamma Mia!
Gerald Santos – I have to say I didn’t warm to Gerald immediately, I felt his performance lacked something… My first impressions were totally wrong. He owned the performance and really had me on the edge of my seat at points. Gerald Santos was the youngest ever winner of the biggest singing contest in the Philippines, Pinoy Pop Superstar. He has released five studio albums and has won numerous awards including winning twice Best Male Concert performer at the prestigious ALIW Awards.
Who is it for?
I would definitely say don’t take young kids. I went with my partner and the copious amounts of scantily clad women dancing around and (dare I say it) recreating sexual acts was reoccurring. The positive is that he enjoyed the ladies and I enjoyed the show!
I could see some old couples shifting uncomfortable in their seats but we need to be realistic. This show portrays a brothel, prostitutes, abuse and foreign policy. It is not to be taken lightly especially when you become so engrossed in the show.
I do have to say though at some points I felt emotionally whip-lashed… There were dancing girls with Red singing making jokes but then we cut to a very serious and emotional scene which took me a little time to get used to!
The special effects
Would I call them special effects? I am not sure. There is the helicopter which was absolutely fantastic along with the dances and transitions between sets. At points I did catch myself sitting on the edge of my seat with my jaw pretty much on my lap!
Flawless in every way. From the orchestra through to the vocals… I couldn’t even try to nit-pick even if I wanted too! Everything was perfect and the songs were so moving as well as some being extremely entertaining.
Miss Saigon is a show of contrasting extremes. At one end of the spectrum is the purity of Kim’s love for Chris — with touching faith and courage, she waits three years for his return to rescue her and the son of whom he knows nothing. At the other end is the shady opportunism of ‘The Engineer,’ the Eurasian pimp who sees the half-American boy as his golden ticket to an elusive U.S. visa.
Love or hate the original version… I guarantee you will kick yourself if you don’t get a chance to see this show!
There are seats still avalible at the Curve Theatre Leicester up until 22nd July.