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Miss Saigon returns to the West End

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon has made its highly anticipated return to the West End and is already taking the theatre world by storm. This gut-wrenching musical tells the story of a young girl called Kim who falls in love with Chris, an American GI. This all takes place during the fall of Saigon and we see their lives end in complete devastation as their relationship is ripped apart, twist after twist.

As a 14 year old eager performing arts student with a huge passion for musicals, I was more than excited when my Mum took myself and my friend Laura to see this show at The Birmingham Hippodrome back in 2003. We already knew all the songs off by heart, although admittedly I didn’t really understand the full extent of the story-line. Of course it further cemented our love for musicals so when Miss Saigon was announced to make a return to the West End 11 years later, with an added song and a few changes to the lyrics, the inevitable happened. Once again, Laura and I would be reliving the Saigon experience and my count down until show night began.

This show was purely exhausting and I felt as though I left the theatre with a torn-out heart and empty pit at the bottom of my stomach, but I enjoyed every minute. Strange paradox I know. I was incredibly impressed with all of the performances in the show as it was so beautifully acted, choreographed and directed. Flawless in every sense. Even the lighting deserved a standing ovation, which is something I don’t usually pay much attention to. Highlights for me included the character John singing “Bui Doi” with a real gospel quality to it which is completely different from whenever I’ve heard it sung before. 18 year old ‘Eva Noblezada’ playing Kim was absolutely breathtaking. As an audience member I truly felt she meant every word and every line she sang, with such a mature sincerity and a real maternal feel to her character in the scenes with her young on-stage son Tam. She certainly is an incredible talent.

The only part I missed from the original production was the duet “Now That I’ve Seen Her” which is sung by the characters Kim and Ellen who are both in love with Chris and come face to face for the first time. However, this has been replaced with a very intense solo sung by Ellen called “Maybe” and in this much more gritty rendition of the show I have to admit it fits perfectly.

I absolutely award Miss Saigon with 5 stars as it completely exceeded my expectations. It’s a difficult one to put into words just how much I felt affected by this show and I don’t doubt for a moment that the majority of the audience felt the same. It received an overwhelming standing ovation, and with such a lot to take in throughout one show, I can’t wait to have the opportunity to go and see it all over again!

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