I’ve long been a Miss Saigon fan and adored the new production when it opened in London last year, so when I was offered the chance to head back to the gorgeous Prince Edward Theatre and see the new cast in action, I jumped at the chance (thanks TodayTix)!
In the year or so since I last saw it the show seems to have gone through some changes, nothing drastic, but a sort of evolution as the cast have settled into the flow of things. The most obvious example being Jon Jon Briones’ glorious Engineer who has become funnier, a little more sinister and certainly more desperate. Briones still gives a stunning performance and it seems the rest of the cast, many of whom have been there since the show opened, are more comfortable in their reactions to him. It’s a similar story for Hugh Maynard’s John who seems more natural than at my previous visit
I was lucky enough to see Tanya Manalang on as Kim, I really enjoyed Eva Noblezada’s portrayal so it’s nice to see a slightly different take. Tanya is a diminutive figure with a big beautiful voice, her Kim less bolshy but ultimately seeming braver for her initial timidity. She matches up well with Chris Peluso who brings a much more rugged macho Chris than I’ve ever seen before. His take on Why God Why is magnificent!
Carolyn Maitland recently returned to the show, after understudying Ellen in the revival’s original cast. She achieved a great coup in getting me to finally admit to myself that Maybe is a great song. I’d still love to hear her take on Now That I’ve Seen Her though…
There’s a new Gigi in town too, Natalie Mendoza’s take is less of an ice queen who dominates the Engineer’s flock than an anxious would be escapee who uses cocaine highs to get through nights selling herself. It’s a portrayal that typifies the level of detail throughout the show, with every performer getting a moment, however brief, to develop character and add their own spin to proceedings.
It’s a little disappointing that Miss Saigon will close next year, but if this cast are anything to go by it will go out on a high!