Touring – reviewed at the Mayflower Southampton
I first saw Miss Saigon at Drury Lane circa 1990, then again on Broadway in 2000. However on my last visit, to its recent West End run, the poor sound quality left such a disappointing impression that I almost didn’t see it at my local theatre. My goodness, I’m so glad I did.
Adapted from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly it’s been described as the greatest musical of all time. Created by Boublil and Schönberg and presented by Cameron Mackintosh, audiences in Southampton this month can decide for themselves if this statement is true. It tells a bitter story of war, greed, love, hardship, separation, lust and loss.
This production is like watching a fast-paced amazing Technicolor visual spectacle for the whole two hours and 40 minutes. The chemistry, the power and intensity is palpable in this touring show, the heat is most definitely on.
Led by Red Conceptión as The Engineer, this cast exudes class and give performances of a lifetime. Sooha Kim (Kim) and Ashley Gilmour (Chris) are so creditable that they take your breath away at times. With stunningly beautiful crystal clear voices, I also would defy anyone not too be moved by their acting skills.
At times you loath The Engineer – testament to how he makes you feel when he is trying to save his own skin. The scene of ‘The American Dream’, full of glitz and glamour, demonstrates the reasons behind the character. Seedy sexual exploitation and manipulation are illustrated with colour and panache. Ryan O’Gorman as John and Zoë Doano (Ellen) are both equally strong in their roles.
I must applaud the production design by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley and the tour’s associate set designer David Harris. It commands a big stage and perfectly suited The Mayflower Southampton. Its majestic appearance allows for pivotal scenes to be executed effortlessly leaving the audience, including myself, to gasp in amazement. Direction by Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy is imaginative and makes full use of the cast and set brilliantly.
Fortunately the production remains at The Mayflower until 17 March before continuing its tour. However tickets are selling fast so if you would like to see it, and after reading this and many other reviews, why wouldn’t you – book now!