My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

Dance like it’s the last night of the world…

on June 24, 2015

Review of Miss Saigon

They say romance is dead… but actually it’s not. It’s jut doomed. Either way love is very much alive in the most unlikely of places. Including Saigon.

Based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon tells the story of an orphaned girl who heads to Saigon to metaphorically ‘seek her fortune’. Ending up working in a bar owned by The Engineer, she’s thrust into the path of Chris, an American soldier.

They quickly fall in love and plan to leave for the US together. But Saigon is in uproar and the soldiers are evacuated. The lovers are separated but life goes on… yet years later the lovers will meet again, in tragic circumstances.

Eva Noblezada is faultless as innocent Kim, singing everything beautifully and effortlessly, yet with so much pain and emotion, especially I Still Believe and I’d Give My Life For You. This emphasises her relationship with her son Tam which is lovely to watch, making her ‘ultimate sacrifice’ all the more sad. When she joins Gigi (Natalie Mendoza) in The Movie in My Mind, her innocence is matched only by the reality of the vulnerability of Gigi and all of the other girls in Dreamland.

Miss Saigon - Eva Noblezada as Kim with William Tao as Tam - Photo cedit Michael Le Poer Trench

Eva Noblezada as Kim with William Tao as Tam

Chris Peluso is a strong Chris, particularly his rendition of Why God Why and his relationship with Kim is very believable – I first heard (and fell in love with) the song Last Night of the World when I was 15, yet it took me more than 10 years to see the show it was from! I wasn’t disappointed, although surprised it came so early in the musical.

The most interesting relationship however is with Chris and his wife Ellen (played excellently by understudy Claire Parrish) whose agony is clear and although a part of you wants to hate her, you can’t help but feel sorry for her.

Although Jon Jon Briones is truly remarkable as the Engineer, alternate Christian Rey Marbella is also excellent (If You Want to Die in Bed provides us with some much needed light relief) and Hugh Maynard is perfect as John – even my cold heart was quite moved by Bui Doi.

Miss Saigon - Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer - Photo credit Matthew Murphy

Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer

If I had one criticism of Miss Saigon it would be how similar the music is (in places) to Les Miserables – in fact it’s not really a negative point, not just because Les Mis is wonderful but both musicals are the product of a collaboration between Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boblil.

Considering its reputation, it’s great that Miss Saigon has triumphantly returned to the West End where the heat is most definitely on! The show is an emotional rollercoaster (with some slightly OTT staging… American Dream I’m talking about you), and despite having seen it with the original (2014) cast, the new cast are also fantastic and it is still an incredible show and one of the best musicals in the West End.


Miss Saigon is now showing at the Prince Edward theatre from Monday to Saturday, with additional matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday.

Photo credits Michael Le Poer Trench

One response to “Dance like it’s the last night of the world…

  1. […] you all know I’m a huge fan of Killian Donnelly and Eva Noblezada, but I’m really going to struggle with casting my votes this year…although between you […]

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