Review by Carla Speight
Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of the 1989 Miss Saigon is exquisite. Set during the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, in the spring of 1975, taking inspiration from Puccini’s Butterfly.
A virginal Vietnamese woman falls for an American G.I in a brothel run by an exploitative pimp. His one aim in life, as the story develops, is to move to America and live the American dream.
An uncomfortable story for today’s audience to witness, impacting, emotional and at times revealing gut wrenching scenes, acceptable in a time gone by.
The main set was intricate, yet simple. Lit beautifully throughout, with ingenious planning for each scene. However the awe inspiring Helicopter was an engineering marvel and definitely a show stopping moment, even though you could see the actors leaving through the other side.
The Engineer was a popular charter, despite his darker role within the story. It was his cabaret style facade that won over audiences, making the fact he sold women as sex slaves a little easier to bare.
The love story between the two main characters, Kim and Chris, was captivating. Immediately the audience were in love with their story and wanted them to have a ‘happily ever after’. But Chris was sent away during the fall of Saigon and didn’t reunite with her until three years later. The gap was easily missed as it was not that relevant. In the second half it is revealed that Kim had fallen pregnant and gave birth to a boy, Chris’ son.
This lead to her embarking on an epic journey, to Bangkok with the Engineer, who see’s her child as his ticket to America. Through this journey Chris hears of his son and goes to Bangkok with his new wife.
Musical fans will note the similarities to Cameron’s Les Miserables entangled throughout this story of love, loss and sacrifice.
Miss Saigon at the received a standing ovation at the Palace Theatre Manchester. Due to how this epic story was beautifully remastered and produced. Leaving not one dry eye in the theatre, Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of Miss Saigon is a must see. It is appearing in theatres all over the UK and Ireland, for more information and where to see it in your local theatre go to their website www.miss-saigon.com