Reviewed at: Dominion Theatre, London on 23rd August 2017.
Miss Saigon, the classic musical Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Alain Boublil is hitting the road for a major UK tour where it has opened its run at Curve in Leicester. The musical based Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, and tells the story of a doomed relationship between an Asian woman and an American GI soldier.
Visually the show is superb, the production design team of Totie Driver and Matt Kinley (based on an original concept by Adrian Vaux) have done an amazing job bringing the show to life. Bruno Poet’s lighting design is another element that makes the show a visual feast for the eyes. “The Morning of the Dragon” is a fantastic moment where the show really takes off during the first act. Miss Saigon’s helicopter scene is famous and the touring show has done an amazing job with it too.
Sadly musically for me, the show lacks, where Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil got Les Miserables perfectly right, unfortunately, there are moments musically in the show, particularly in the first act that seems tame and after a while, all the songs seem to sound the same. There are some stunning moments musically in the first act too, “The Movie In My Mind” and “I Still Believe” stand out. Act two seems a lot slicker and both the story and the music seem to improve.
With all the shows lacks it does have a highly talented company. Sooha Kim leads the show brilliantly as Kim, she is powerful, emotional and stunning to watch. She perfectly pitches the emotion of the role and you really feel her anguish and pain especially during the confrontation with Ellen in the second act. Ashley Gilmour is a fine-voiced Chris. Zoë Doano doesn’t have much to do but when she’s on the stage she commands it well and has a strong voice, I particularly enjoyed her rendition of “I Still Believe” along with Sooha’s Kim.
Ryan O’Gorman, who was a stunning Tom Collins in the recent tour of UK tour of Rent, once again is great as John. His rendition of ‘Bui Doi’ is show-stopping and a real highlight of the show. Gerald Santos’s Thuy is commanding and strong and another fine voice. I wish he had more moments to showcase his talent. Marsha Songcome is gorgeous vocally during “The Movie In My Mind”.
It’s the performance of Red Concepcion as the Engineer who steals the show though, he is excellent everytime he is on stage. He perfectly pitches the role, the madness eccentricity of the character and the emotion. His “The American Dream” and”What A Waste” really soar. He is stunning throughout.
Unfortunately, it’s slower moments musically and the first act that really let the show down and although it’s still really an enjoyable show that just doesn’t get out of first gear until the second act. Once past the interval, it’s strong and emotional. The ending, which I won’t spoil, is very powerful.
Check it out and make your own mind up, it really seems to be a show that divides opinion, especially amongst my friends.
Miss Saigon tours the UK currently booking until September 2018. For more details and booking information click here.