Saturday, 2 August 2014

'Miss Saigon' Prince Edward Theatre *****

There have been a number of musicals that one will never erase from the memory, and the long awaited revival of Boubil and Schönberg’s phenomenon, ‘Miss Saigon’ is certainly on par with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and Marvin Hamlisch’s ‘A Chorus Line’. This establishes that originality will inevitably prevail. ‘Miss Saigon’ was first performed in 1989, to critical acclaim, and this arrangement was one that left me fixated throughout the entire performance. The musical conveys the tragic conditions that happened during the Vietnam War, and how love and affection between an American soldier and a local girl blossoms. However, this will lead to heartbreak and misfortune as the war forbids that their romance should endeavour to continue. At the beginning of the production, we are transported to a Vietnamese table dancing club where the armed forces, after finishing a day of fighting are enjoying a night of sexual and drunken activity. In addition to this, handsome soldier, Chris, a respectable gentleman falls passionately in love with 17-year-old novice prostitute, Kim, and during that one meeting,  Kim loses her virginity and immediately becomes infatuated by him , with the hope that she'll marry him and move to America to obtain a healthier life. Unfortunately, someone from Kim’s past returns to her life, stating she's going to be is wife destroys this and Chris has to vacate Saigon due to its increased vulnerability of Saigon’s destruction. The narrative is outstanding and incredibly emotional. I was moved to tears and I did especially when Kim sings to her son, Tam, who is in fact Chris's son with “I'd Give My Life For You”. It reminds you of the importance of a mother's love for her child. One of the spectacles of the production and the element that the show is known for , the flying helicopter did not disappoint and one impatiently craved to witness the moment for oneself, and I jumped for joy when the helicopter entered the Prince Edward stage. The music and lyrics by Boubil and Schönberg are   spectacular and emotionally engaging with such numbers as, “The Heat Is On”, “I Still Believe”, “The American Dream” and “Little God Of My Heart”. The performances by the company of ‘Miss Saigon’ were electrifying. Jon Jon Briones is remarkable as the brothel owner, The Engineer. He delivers both sinister and humour of the character with brilliant tenacity, also it was satisfying that Trevor Jackson and James Orange cast a Filipino actor. Eva Noblezada is exceptional as lead female, Kim. She's passionate and heart wrenching, especially when she kills herself because she realises that Chris cannot be hers. Alistair Brammer is sublime as Kim’s courtesan, Chris. One found that the apprehension of meeting his son for the first time was incredibly virile and increasing realistic. The direction by Lawrence Connor is incredible as it significantly portrays the horrendous Vietnam War to such perfection and the revival is elegant throughout. Excellent one must advocate. Tottie Driver and Matt Kinley’s set designs are vastly stylish and the scenic transitions are slick and sophisticated, and encapsulate the war zone atmosphere to such transcendence. Overall, ‘Miss Saigon ‘was an experience that all that is most welcome and one that will never fade away. You should witness it yourselves and enjoy their performance in all aspects.

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