Yesterday was our nine year wedding anniversary, and what better way to celebrate it than a trip to the wonderful Wales Millennium Centre to see Miss Saigon? Yes, I realise the story has a sad ending, thanks to Nanny Kim’s love of Madame Butterfly (on which Miss Saigon’s storyline is based), but what a way to spend our evening!
Wales Millennium Centre has an outstanding theatre, and it never fails to overwhelm us with its beauty. We found our seats with the help of the friendly staff and the show soon began. The opening was slightly chaotic (in a good way); representative of the situation and full of beautiful harmonies between the soldiers; it was a breathtaking start to an intense show for sure!
The stage and set was absolutely outstanding, with interchangeable pieces and creative and atmospheric props. I adored the city lights and the helicopter scene, as well as the lighting which created scenes of war and sadness with such power. Each scene was seamless as it passed into the next, with the help of clever props, scenery, talented and timely staff as well as perfect music performed by the hugely talented orchestra.
The story follows Kim, a young girl who is forced to work in a Vietnamese brothel where she falls in love with an American Sergeant called Chris. When he leaves for America Kim is left to cope alone bringing up their son alone. Years later Chris discovers Kim had his child and he goes in search of them with his new wife. Kim has remained dedicated to Chris, but when she finds out he has a wife she sees only one way out to give her son a better future…
During the first act there was a stunning performance of The Movie in My Mind by Na-Young Jeon who performed as Gigi; she was outstanding, a mixture of bold, powerful talent with a deep sadness, vulnerability and desperation – I adored her throughout!
The first act definitely left me feeling bereft, with a stunning performance of Sun and Moon and Last Night of the World, performed by Chris (Ashley Gilmore) and Kim (Sooha Kim). Both performances made me cry (a lot!), the lyrics were performed beautifully and it truly reminded me of my love for Warren…
I thought Ashley Gilmore shone bright throughout the performance, reminding me of the classic musicals I’d been brought up on during my childhood. I thought he gave an outstanding performance as Chris, a mixture of a tortured man but also a man who betrays his first love. I adored his character in the first half, but during the second half I actually felt angry towards him! Warren pointed out that Chris did love Kim, but my feelings towards the character were very different, mostly because I saw his second marriage as a betrayal. I ended up leaving the performance more angry than sad, similar to Nanny Kim’s feelings towards the beautiful Madame Butterfly.
I actually love how passionate the performance made me feel, how it created a dialogue between my self and Warren, and that we were able to listen to each others point of view about the relationships of the characters in this outstanding performance.
I couldn’t write this review without mentioning the unforgettable performance by Red Concepcion who played The Engineer. His performance was suitably over the top with glitzy costumes and a Broadway styled performance of The American Dream. Warren and I both agreed this was a surprising performance, but this kind of ‘light relief’ is needed in a show so ingrained with misery and suffering. Concepcion was awesome as The Engineer, he had comic timing and performed a lot of gritty one-liners with perfection!
The music and lyrics were the elements of the performance I adored
the most, they really touched my heart and the music was played with
such devotion, as well as the wonderful performances from Chris and Kim.
Kim’s heartbreak was incredibly touching, with so much emotion and
loss in her voice and body language.
Miss Saigon isn’t a joyous story, it isn’t a story to melt your heart or leave you feeling uplifted; it’s a story of pain and misery, a story of loss and love, it’s a story we should all learn from. I left the performance with a renewed sense of loyalty to my husband, holding his hand tighter than before and loving him with every ounce of my being.
Miss Saigon is running until6th January 2017 and tickets start from £25.00.
Disclosure: We received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.