City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Miss Saigon, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Review


By Katie Stephen - Posted on 21 January 2018

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miss saigon.jpg
Show Details
Company: 
Cameron MacKintosh and Boublil & Schnbergӧberg
Production: 
Alain Boublil (Book & Lyrics), Claude-Michel Schӧnberg (Concept, Book & Music) Sir Cameron MacKintosh (Producer), Richard Maltby, Jr. (Lyrics), Michael Mahler (Additional Lyrics), Laurence Connor ( Director), Bob Avian (Musical Staging), Chris Key (Associate Director), Tom O’Brien (Resident Director), Richard Jones (Associate Choreographer), Totie Driver (Production Designer), Matt Kinley (Production Designer), Adrian Vauz (Design Concept), Andreane Neofitou (Costume Designer), Bruno Poet (Lighting Design), Luke Halls (Projections), Mick Potter (Sound Designer), James McKeon (Musical Director) , David Harris (Associate Set Designer), Adam Fisher (Associate Sound Designer), Warren Letton (Associate Lighting Designer)
Performers: 
Sooha Kim (Kim), Red Concepción (The Engineer), Ashley Gilmour (Chris), Zoë Doana (Ellen), Ryan O’Gorman (John), Gerald Santos (Thuy), Na-Young (Gigi), Joreen Bautista (Alternate Kim), David Kar-Hing (Ensemble/Fight Captain), Christian Rey Marbella (Ensemble/Alternate Engineer), Amadeus Williams (Ensemble/Acro Captain), David Allwood, Randy Chien, Vinny Cole, Kristine Diaz, Aynrand Ferrer, Seng Henk Goh, Emily Beth Harrington, Jack Heasman, Tom Hier, Barnaby Hughes, Kamm Kunaree, Amanda Lindgreen, Ela Lisondra, Jay Marsh, Tom Mussell, Thao Nguyen, Youngjoo Park, Kiel Payton, Katherine Picar, Alistair So, Carl Jae-Suk Sohlberg, Gerald Zarcilla (Ensemble), Gavin Tsang (Swing/Dance Captain), Eloisa Amalia Tan (Swing/Assistant Dance Captain), Michael James Eborall, Winchester Lopez, Saori Oda (Swing)
Running time: 
165mins

Another of Cameron MacKintosh’s extravagant spectacles propels its way onto the Festival Theatre stage this month, captivating eyes, ears and hearts. Amidst the struggles and strife of the Vietnam war, Kim’s love story is set in motion and on this magnificent stage a performance of epic scale takes off - quite literally.

Paraded around a bar in 1975 Saigon, tagged “virgin” and “princess”, orphaned Kim is sold for one life changing night in ‘Dreamland’. Reluctant American soldier Chris, through the peer pressure of a boys' night out, ends up alone with this first time floosie, but falls for Kim instead and vows to take her home with him as his wife. The decaying state of Saigon leaves them stranded from each others grasp until - an extremely eventful - three years pass.

It would be foolish to doubt the technical abilities of a production under the MacKintosh banner as we already know your favourite nanny can soar across the largest auditorium, and that breathtaking barricade will contain a chair or twelve more to make its point with pizzazz - here in Saigon it’s no different. No fan - old or knew - could be disappointed when MacKintosh’s go to designers, Totie Driver and Matt Kinley, pull out all the stops airlifting the US troops in a real propeller whirring, headlights glaring, airborne helicopter.

However Boublil and Schӧnberg’s mega musical does not purely rely on its wool-pulling stage effects, allowing an outstanding cast to soar higher than any stage wizardry. Sooha Kim’s Kim offers an awe-inspiring performance encapsulating every emotion with an impeccable rawness, whilst offering a vocal performance to stun. Her Chris, played by the “who wouldn’t fall for him?” Ashley Gilmour, is a strong lead - holding his own in intimate numbers and exuding guilt in the later half of his charming performance.

Kim’s performance - although the strongest and most poignant - still did not crush tradition and give her the top spot. Despite the current social climate, Red Concepción’s supporting role - albeit a deliciously money hungry Engineer, positively dripping with slime - controversially still claimed the final bow.

You’d expect nothing less from the world’s most influential theatre producer, but a show that goes out of its way to stamp out technical boundaries, prizing tears from eyes along the way. Maybe the next revamp will give the helicopter top billing!

Festival Theatre Edinburgh until 17 February 2018
Tickets at: http://www.edtheatres.com/misssaigon

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