a major event for Plymouths Theatre Royal and should continue
to enhance the profile of TR2 as a big player in the making of multi-million
pound theatre productions.
Vauxs split level set convincingly recreates the sleazy night-clubs
and dirty backstreets of war-torn Saigon in 1975.
When I saw the show, it had been been running for a full week, so
any teething problems with the gliding set seem to have been ironed
out before the press were allowed to view.
I only noticed a couple of minor glitches which is impressive considering
the complexities of the design.
the opening screaming of helicopter blades resounding round the
auditorium, a sound so synonymous with the horrors of the Vietnam
War, we were transported into a battle zone of brothels where female
flesh is cheap and US soldiers get "more bangs for their bucks"!
and Chris (Miriam Valmores Marasigan and Steven Houghton)
Valmores-Marasigan as the diminutive Kim was dwarfed next to the
towering physique of Steve Houghton, her well meaning but confused
This perfectly emphasised her fragile vulnerability.
His first big number was sung Kermit like half way up the stairs,
but he was no croaking frog.
"Sun and Moon" was a beautifully tender duet sung by Chris
and Kim as they find they are in love.
show completely changes gear as the third anniversary of reunification
is being celebrated.
Red banners and an image of Ho Chi Minh drop while a Chinese Dragon
snakes across the stage to ringing oriental percussive sounds.
Down in their pit the small orchestra seemed to easily fuse eastern
and western musical styles.
best performance in the show is that of the Engineer, and Jon Jon
Briones has made this role his own all over the world.
Engineer - slimy but fab!
is a loathsome pimp and self-centred money grabbing wheeler-dealer
but he gets to wear the most outrageous suits and to sing the best
Hes a slimy character but his charm and comedic delivery means
you just have to love him...I could have watched him all night long!
second act opens with a powerful overture, and film of mixed race
orphans - the legacy of the Yanks' fecundity.
Here the message is powerfully driven home that its the children
who continue to suffer after the bombing has ceased.
Famous Final Helicopter Flight
of the pre-publicity for this production has focused on the computerised
wizardry used to create the helicopter scene as the Americans finally
leave their embassy in Saigon.
The special effects work really well as the virtual chopper takes
off with Chris on board and Kim left behind in the middle of the
emotional turmoil and chaos of the fall of the city.
all ends in tears for Kim and Tam (played by Ivan Chan
there anyone who doesnt know how this tragic story ends?
Kim sacrifices her life for her sons future in America. Kerry
Ellis as Ellen, Chriss American wife, takes the child in her
arms and hugs him.
Although not on stage much, the brief moments with Ellen are emotional
and compassionate as well as vocally beautiful.
no doubts that this new touring production of the epic Miss Saigon
will be a massive success.
Based loosely on Puccinis Madame Butterfly, Alain Boublil
and Claude-Michel Schonberg created such a wonderful timeless score.
Occasionally I cringed a bit at some of the rhyming lyrics but that
occurred in the translation from the original French.
wanted to tone down some of the emotional peaks when the performers
seemed to overdo it - just a bit.
Overall though congrats to everyone involved in this emotional roller-coaster
of a show. Let's hope it really takes off and enjoys huge success.
Theatre Royal, Plymouth
Weds 14th July - Sat 21st Aug 2004
Tickets: £21.50 - £38
Box Office: 01752 267222