In a world where innocent people are caught up in war, where refugees and displaced children are rejected at every turn, the legendary musical Miss Saigon and its story of a mother’s search for a better life for her child is as heart-breaking as ever writes dluxe Magazine’s Jonathan Fraser.
The impact of America’s hopeless war with Vietnam is told in this story of love, separation, hope and sacrifice that follows the evacuation of Saigon’s US Embassy by the last of America’s troops in 1975 – ten years after 500,000 American combat troops were deployed there.
A decade of deployment means dollars and when added to a desperate need for survival in Saigon, it’s not long before love became a commodity and a chance of escape from poverty and exploitation for many Saigon women. Tens of thousands of children, known as Bui Doi ( Dust of Life), were born as the result of liaisons between American servicemen and the women of Vietnam and following the end of the war, thousands were repatriated to America. Sadly, though not everyone made it.
It’s the story of these women that Miss Saigon focuses on. In the last days of the Vietnam War, 17-year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son.
Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Boubil and Schonberg’s epic musical is simply stunning. Perhaps one of the best staged productions we have ever seen; every aspect from set and production design, lighting, costume and choreography is outstanding. This is a big, big show with a cast of almost 40 and some of the biggest, show-stopping set pieces we’ve witnessed. The abandonment of the Embassy (and yes there is a helicopter on stage) and the Engineer’s epic American Dream almost overwhelm the senses and are worth the ticket price alone.
The biggest hits of Miss Saigon though are the incredible performances by Sooha Kim as Kim and Red Concepcion as The Engineer. Kim’s incredible voice and heart-breaking performance ensure there’s not a dry eye in the house whilst Concepcion’s The Engineer effortlessly narrates the underbelly of the Far East tourist trade, taking the audience on a desperate journey through a neon world of sexploitation and survival.
Miss Saigon is simply stunning and is the definition of a must-see show. It runs until the 23rd September yet tickets are scarce so best be quick – www.birminghamhippodrome.com
See what Miss Saigon Producer Cameron Mackintosh had to say about the production in our exclusive interview here.