Mayflower-Southampton – until 17 March 2018. Reviewed by Jo Gordon
Produced by Sir Cameron Mackintosh , Boublil and Schönbergs Miss Saigon has been wowing audiences since its opening night at Drury Lane back in 1989.
The story of love enveloped by the horrors of war and the consequences that follow when two struggling souls are brought together amidst desperate and difficult circumstances . Kim (Joreen Bautista) , an innocent 17 year old village girl finds herself away from her home after her family are killed and she flees from the man her father had promised her hand in marriage too. Alone she is soon spotted by The Engineer (Red Concepción), a wheeler dealing, brothel running, lovable rogue who is out to make as many dollars he can out of the GI’s stationed nearby. Chris (Ashley Gilmour) a quieter, gentler GI spots her and quickly falls in love resulting in a spiritual marriage with the hope of taking Kim back to the safety of the USA. The war situation quickly changes and despite his best efforts Chris is unable to save Kim and has to leave her behind….. something which haunts him everyday back in the U.S. Holding on to the hope that Chris will one day return for her and the son Chris is unaware of, Kim does what she has to do to survive in a post war Vietnam and protect her son at all costs. Will Kim’s dream come true?
With huge musical numbers such as The Movie In my Mind, I’d Give my Life for You, the beautiful Bui Doi and the spectacular show tune that is American Dream there is plenty of scope for the cast to show off their vocal abilities and ability is not something that is lacking! I was blown away each and every time, Joreen Bautista plays Kim’s naivety and longing perfectly resulting in some emotional moments for the audience, I myself having moist eyes on more than one occasion
The set is utterly breathtaking, without giving too much away there is one scene with a certain rather large, well thought out prop that really puts you in the middle of the story bringing your emotions to the fore of how you would feel from either point of view at that moment in time. The war had only been finished for 14 years when the show first opened, but it brought to our attention how despite the last soldier leaving, the last gun fired, for those left behind the struggle still continued. Especially for the huge amount of children that were fathered with local girls by the GI’s and the issues those GI’s were left to deal once home. A thought provoking and emotional performance by an exceptional cast.