A little while ago, I was lucky enough to be taken by one of my best friends Jas to see Miss Saigon, so here’s a little write up. (I’ve never really reviewed a play before and it will be hard to do this without giving away too many spoilers).
Going in I had no idea what to expect, I hadn’t read any reviews or even spoken to anyone who had seen it. We went to the Hippodrome in Bristol. I used to live quite close to it last year, so I had always seen crowds of people, but had never actually been inside. It was very impressive. It had that rich opulence that traditional theatres have, making it feel rather magical. Red velvet and gold adorn the furnishings, and it has several bars with beautiful ambience.
We excitedly found our seats and waited for it to start. The show did not start at all how I had anticipated (to be fair I didn’t really know what to anticipate). It launches straight in with bombings and the main character, Kim being pimped out after her parents were killed. Quite far from what I expected for a musical truth be told. But it’s done so well! The stage sets are fantastic, honestly I am in awe of anyone who creates them! Dreamland and the houses are where the majority of the first few scenes take place and they were spectacular.
I presumed (naively) that the musical was going to be about Kim falling in love, and don’t get me wrong, it was. However when Kim and Chris fall in love after about 20 minutes I knew I was in for heartbreak. The tale is exceptional (it’s based on Puccini’s Opera, Madame Butterfly), there are so many twists and turns to it that there is never a dull moment.
I know that everyone raves about the helicopter scene but honestly there is a reason for that. It was genuinely amazing. They have done it so well, it is actually like there is a helicopter flying into the theatre. There were some other real standout scenes, mainly the Engineer performing American Dream; and for me (even though it’s not a major scene) the closing of the embassy was really heartbreaking. On a side note, the Engineer was a really well done character. You start off thinking of him as a villain, but he retains the right amount of humour and likability.
I cannot recommend it highly enough, I came out of the theatre completely taken aback. I wouldn’t really consider myself to be a musicals person but this really is something else.