Review – Miss Saigon – Mayflower Theatre

An emotional roller coaster, punctuated by surprise, not the least being the epic production, this delivers on a very satisfying scale.

The scene is set in the Vietnam war.  American troops, unwelcome but a source of income for a hustler called ‘The Engineer’, pimping out girls. A 17 year old girl, Kim, enters; innocent, needing work, and falls into the trap of the engineer.

Soldier Chris comes into the frame and things soon get complex as he is soon to be ending his tour and returning home.

This is a full musical and the lead role of Kim is played brilliantly from start to finish, delicate, focussed and dedicated to her priorities.  As somebody working in music, I really enjoyed her precise pitching and tone.  Chris sings well, but his tone clashes with the high midrange of the sound system (I don’t think anybody else would notice) while his superior in terms of army rank John, really delivers a powerful star performance. Dark humour, mainly due to the subject matter is doled out by the Engineer who is given a great range to work with, which he takes full advantage of, from moments of violence to gross confidence through to desperation and fear.

I could go on endlessly about the individual performances as they were all top class but it is the production surrounding this which takes it to another level.

I don’t want to spoil the key part, so I will stop and say that nothing has topped the incredible surprise of one particular animated machine.  Don’t look it up, do not start to think about it, go in and enjoy the show.

Beyond this, the group dance pieces are spectacular, the horizontal light through the blinds and mood lighting match the drama but are not limited to subtlety, gasps from the crowd as a whole let you know everybody was locked in.

The scenes move effortlessly.  If you have been to a few theatre productions, sometimes there are only minor changes.  This production has great major changes and touches, letting you know about distance and separation between the characters.

The music was so good that I never heard a note wrong, immense power is given to the right moments and to the sound effects, as you will find right from the start.

The essence of drama is conflict.  There is no greater conflict than than presented by this story.  To top the surprise which I don’t want to spoil seems unlikely, the gauntlet has been laid down, you will know exactly what I am referring to when you see this production and you won’t be disappointed trusting in my excitement in what I witnessed.

Written By John Pitts

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