MUSICAL REVIEW: Miss Saigon ★★★★

Miss Saigon
Birmingham Hippodrome
Saturday 16th September 2017

Opening up on the West End in 1989, Miss Saigon is set during the Vietnam war in the 1970’s and follows the life of Kim (Aynrand Ferrer) falling in love with U.S Marine Chris (Ashley Gilmour). The musical from Claude-Michel Schõnberg was reportedly taken from a photograph he saw of a mother leaving her child at the gates of an airport ready to board a plane to the United States. Now I had seen this musical previously back in 2014 when the 25th anniversary performance was screened at the cinema, but never had I seen it live, so I was very excited to see it performed on stage, and I was not disappointed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this production due to the slickness and attention to detail in every scene; the changes between sequences were especially clever, for example the transition from ‘The Last Night in the World’ sung by Kim and Chris in Saigon 1975 to ‘The Morning of the Dragon’ in Ho Chi Minh City’ in April 1978, where the streets of Saigon have disappeared to be replaced with draped decorations and a golden statue of Ho Chi Minh in the background.

The one gripe I did I have about this particular performance though was the lack of chemistry on stage between Kim and Chris, where I found out only afterwards that Ferrer, who in the programme is listed as an ensemble member, was in the role of Kim. I was not convinced by the love story they were portraying on stage, and I know it’s wrong to compare that of Eva Noblezada and Alistair Brammer chemistry on stage after only seeing them onscreen together, by Ferrer and Gilmour in this performance did not live up to the hype of what is one of musical theatre’s hugely successful partnerships. I was however hugely delighted with Red Conception’s portrayal of The Engineer. He had a brilliant humour and care to the role which I hugely enjoyed throughout, and constantly had the audience in stitches, especially in the penultimate number of the production, ‘The American Dream’.

Overall, this performance of Miss Saigon though full of beautiful sets, lights and stunning choreography, was sadly let down by the chemistry of the two main leads.

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