Miss Saigon by Heather Wells

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Miss Saigon, Prince Edward Theatre, January 2015

Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Miss Saigon, currently on at the Prince Edward theatre, answers the public plea to bring back this tragic romance musical once again to the West End since its success in the eighties at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Miss Saigon is set during the Vietnam War and is a love story between an American GI Chris (Alistair Brammer) and a young passionate Vietnamese bar girl called Kim (Eva Noblezada). Eva Noblezada has a tremendous voice for such a petite person and John (Hugh Maynard), another GI and friend of Chris gives a fantastic vocal performance in the song ‘Bui Doi’ literally meaning ‘Dust of Life’. The song is for the Amerasian children left behind in the War. This emotive moment seems so out of place as one so wants to concentrate on the short video showing the orphaned children, but the song sung by John distracts the moment completely.

While the vocals are strong throughout, the songs themselves fail to hold the force you come to expect with musicals. The exception of course being the ‘American Dream’ sung by the slippery yet charming Engineer (Jon Jon Briones) as he gyrates on the bonnet of a Cadillac. After all, that’s what musicals are best at doing: leaving songs with you that you can’t get out of your head…