MISS SAIGON REVIEW
The Bristol Hippodrome
WEDNESDAY 16th MAY – SATURDAY 23rd JUNE 2018
Since its London premiere in 1989, Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s MISS SAIGON has become one of the most successful musicals in history. MISS SAIGON has been performed in 32 countries, over 300 cities in 15 different languages and has won over 70 awards. It has now been seen by over 36 million people worldwide. It is one of the largest productions on tour with a cast of 38, orchestra of 15 and a technical team of 32 who bring the show to life 8 times a week. It takes 16 45-foot trailers to move the production from one venue to the next!
With promises of romance, heartbreak and helicopters, Practically Perfect Mums couldn’t resist checking out this new production of Miss Saigon which is currently showing at The Bristol Hippodrome as part of the UK and Ireland tour.
MISS SAIGON PLOT
MISS SAIGION tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War. 17 year-old Kim (played by Sooha Kim) is forced to work as a prostitute in a seedy Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as The Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris (Ashley Gilmour who we’ve previously seen playing Link Larkin in Hairspray) but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For three years Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son.
MISS SAIGON REVIEW
What a heartbreaking story. Seeing a recently war-orphaned young woman accepting prostitution at a sleazy bar as her only option for survival makes me feel sick to the stomach. I’m repulsed by ‘Dream Land’ bar and brothel owner, ‘The Engineer’ who rubs his hands in glee at the opportunity to turn a tidy profit by selling Kim’s virginity and by the soldiers who are more than happy take advantage of her situation.
As the story progresses we realise that Kim is by no means the only victim of circumstances: Chris and the other GIs face death on a daily basis, Kim’s fellow call girls didn’t choose this path and even the engineer’s sorry back story elicits some empathy.
Red Concepción is brilliant as The Engineer. Despite his despicable character and seedy, exploitative career path, I find myself hoping he’ll escape from his predicament and fulfill his American Dream of getting to the USA and becoming a successful
brothel owner entrepreneur!
Right from the very first song I’m reminded of the musical style of Les Miserables so it’s no surprise to learn that Schönberg composed both. I wasn’t familiar with the music beforehand but I have a feeling it’s going to grow on me, as has Les Mis.
The helicopter scene does not disappoint. It’s chaotic, distressing, realistic and an effect not to be missed!
MISS SAIGON AGE SUITABILITY
Because of the strong language, sexually provocative scenes and adult themes, I’d suggest Miss Saigon is most suitable for adult audiences. I didn’t spot any children in the audience and I don’t think I would have been comfortable watching it alongside my fourteen year old.
Miss Saigon is a high quality multi-award winning production on a huge scale. If you’re after a nice, uplifting night out, THIS IS NOT the show for you. It’s a stirring, emotional rollercoaster ride of romance, hope, heartbreak and sacrifice. It’s so powerful that I left the theatre with the hint of a tear in my eye.
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CAST AND CREDITS
MISS SAIGON has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boublil, adapted from original French lyrics by Alain Boublil, with additional lyrics by Michael Mahler. The new production is directed by Laurence Connor with musical staging by Bob Avian and additional choreography by Geoffrey Garratt. Production design is by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley based on an original concept by Adrian Vaux; costume design by Andreane Neofitou; lighting design by Bruno Poet; projections by Luke Halls; sound design by Mick Potter; and orchestrations by William David Brohn.
Red Concepcion plays ‘The Engineer’, Sooha Kim ‘Kim’, Ashley Gilmour ‘Chris’, Zoë Doano ‘Ellen’ and Gerald Santos ‘Thuy’. At certain performances ‘Kim’ will be played by Joreen Bautista.
They are joined by David Allwood, Randy Chien, Vinny Coyle, Kristine Mae Diaz, Michael James Eborall, Aynrand Ferrer, Seng Henk Goh, Emily Beth Harrington, Jack Heasman, Tom Hier, Barnaby Hughes, Kamm Kunaree, David Kar-Hing Lee, Amanda Lingdren, Ela Lisondra, Winchester Lopez, Christian Rey Marbella, Jay Marsh, Tom Mussell, Thao Nguyen, Saori Oda, YoungJoo Park, Kiel Payton, Katherine Picar, Alistair So, Carl Jae-Suk Sohlberg, Eloisa Amalia Tan, Gavin Tsang, Amadeus Williams, and Gerald Zarcilla.
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 The Normal Heart and Alan Strang in Equus as well as the musicals West Side Story and Hairspray.
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. Her credits whilst training in Korea include Maureen in Rent and Carmen in Fame.
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.
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.
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.
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DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED TICKETS FOR PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN.
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