Reviewed by Linda Pickford
It was another beautiful summer evening for our trip to see Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth. It is many years since I last saw a performance of the musical, but it has always stayed in my memory as a theatre triumph. I was not to be disappointed, although this production was decidedly more sexually explicit than the previous version. Not for your maiden aunts!
The story, based loosely on Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, is that of a poor 17-year-old Vietnamese girl orphan arriving in Saigon amongst all the violence of the war. She is taken in by a local brothel owner who offers her a place to live. On her first night as a prostitute she meets Chris an American GI. Inevitably they fall in love, but Saigon falls to the communists and Chris is evacuated leaving Kim behind to fend for herself. Years later Chris discovers that he has a son and returns to find him. He brings along his new wife and tragedy ensues.
Much could be said about the incredible sets. They were outstanding. Watch out for the brilliant Seedy Bar, The Golden Head of Ho Chi Minh, the evacuation scene showing the difference between the Vietnamese and the American Embassy viewpoints and of course the phenomenal helicopter scene. Together with the superb lighting it made for an unforgettable theatre experience.
It is very difficult to pick out particular artistes for mention. They all worked well together but the chemistry between Sooha Kim (Kim) and Ashley Gilmour (Chris) was tangible. Ryan O’Gorman (John) was excellent as a typical GI of the time who also showed a different side to his character when he returned years later helping to find homes for the thousands of children left behind by the American soldiers. The favourite of the evening though was Red Concepcion as The Engineer. His portrayal of the money loving brothel keeper was outstanding.
The songs from this shop are not particularly memorable, you will not leave with a tune running around your head, but you will enjoy each and every one of them. My only complaint was that the orchestra, at times, was so loud that the lyrics could not be heard.
A truly wonderful show and well worth a visit. Why not treat yourself to a table at the theatre and enjoy a leisurely meal. Or indeed visit one of the numerous restaurants and bistros in the area. Parking is ample both on the road and in various car parks.
Tickets cost from £30 to £63.50 (booking fees may apply).
Miss Saigon is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 4 July to 4 August 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222