Another trip to London brought with it another trip to the theatre – this time to the centre of the bustling and glistening West End to see the incredible production of Miss Saigon. Arriving at the theatre through the typical British summertime rain, I knew very little about this production other than it is a well reviewed show, known for its big-budget and reliability to deliver an entertaining afternoon or evening.
As expected, the set was phenomenal, and for me this made the show. The stage was huge, providing space for clever sets, including *spoilers* a full size helicopter! (If you ask anyone who has seen Miss Saigon what happens, they will undoubtedly comment on it, and now I realise why… just…wow!)
The music, singing and acting was all great (as expected from a famous West End show), with a nice mix of oriental and western music, which was refreshing. (Although it also kept reminding me of the musical South Pacific – I was in the school production in year 10 – as well as, briefly, Les Misérables. It isn’t surprising, I suppose…) In terms of acting, Eva Noblezada, who played Kim, was very good, especially considering this role is her West End debut! My favourite part to play though would have to be The Engineer. (I don’t care if it’s a male role!)
For me, the most entertaining scene was the ‘American Dream’ number. It was extravagant and humorous, if a bit ridiculous. However, the most interesting scene theatrically – in my opinion – was ‘Kim’s Nightmare’. *spoilers again* It’s a flashback to Saigon three years earlier, and is the scene that contains the helicopter! The combined effect of the set, lighting and sound makes for an emotional scene, full of tension and desperation. What I particularly loved was the simple use of the set: its quick and fluid movement in order to present different points of view for the audience was extremely clever, and definitely my favourite part of the whole show!
Overall, it was a thoroughly well executed production, typical of Cameron Mackintosh’s big-budget projects: highly publicised and generally loved by many. Does it deserve all the fuss and acclaim it is getting? For its set and costume, yes! As a production in general? I’ve been sat on the fence for a while, but purely because of the cheeky character of The Engineer, yes I suppose I’ll agree…