Miss Saigon at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Julie Wallis by twitter.com/Nicenic63

Miss Saigon at Birmingham Hippodrome

Miss Saigon is at Birmingham Hippodrome until September 23rd and last night I went with #BrumHour Dave and we became members of the exclusive little club of 35million people that have seen this astounding show worldwide.

Loosely based on Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon tells the story of orphan Kim who has been bought to work for The Engineer at his girlie club Dreamland. An American GI Chris  is transfixed by Kim and after spending the night with her Chris tells Kim that she doesn’t have to work at Dreamland as he wants to look after her.

MISS SAIGON. Photo credit Cameron Mackintosh Ltd.
MISS SAIGON. Photo via Cameron Mackintosh Ltd

But the war is almost at an end, the other girls at the bar arrange a wedding ceremony for Chris and Kim who are both truly in love. Then Chris is sent back to America. Will Kim and Chris be reunited? Will true love conquer all?

Kim played by Sooha Kim has an amazing voice which worked in perfect unison with Chris played by Ashley Gilmour when they sang The Money’s YoursSun And Moon and the show stealing Last Night Of The World (Solo Saxophone ) Chris convinced me of his love for Kim thanks to the superb acting of Ashley. No spoilers here, but Ashley has nailed it when it comes to conveying passionate.

The Engineer played by Red Concepcion is a larger than life character with a charm all of his own,  it’s a sleazy charm but it is a charm nonetheless and he does have all the laughs.

MISS SAIGON. Ashley Gilmour 'Chris' and Sooha Kim 'Kim'. Photo by Johan Persson
Ashley Gilmour ‘Chris’ and Sooha Kim ‘Kim’. Photo by Johan Persson

With an amazing score provided by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, the musical geniuses behind Les Miserables and with Cameron  Mackintosh at the helm as producer, Miss Saigon which has been appearing on stages worldwide for almost 30 years has an impressive heritage.

This story is sad, it’s a tragedy but with such uplifting songs and world class acting it’s impossible to leave the auditorium feeling anything but joy. I sobbed, I think everyone in attendance cried.  Miss Saigon gave me goosebumps, shivers down my spine, several sharp intakes of breath, tears of joy and sadness, a sprinkling of laughs and sore palms from over enthusiastic clapping during the standing ovation.  It was a night to remember for ever.

I’m really struggling to find the words to convey just how perfect Miss Saigon is.  Wonderful, spectacular, breathtaking, powerful, emotional and passionate are a few adjectives that immediately spring to mind. But I still don’t feel they are strong enough to describe Miss Saigon in full. My advice to you is just go and see it. If you are a regular theatre goer this must be on your list. If you’re an occasional theatre goer this must be one of the select few productions you see this year and if you are not a theatre lover, then you really will be blown away by Miss Saigon if you chose it as your introduction to musical theatre and if you have seen it before you must be hankering to see this phenomenal show again. I know I am.

Miss Saigon, Red Conception Photo by Johan Persson

I can’t talk about last nights show without mentioning the full size helicopter, yes it really is as good as the hype has made it sound and yes, it really does appear to be a real helicopter on stage. The staging and lighting throughout is spectacular, but the arrival of the helicopter that takes Chris away from Kim was  the scene that broke me and I started welling up.  The sets are super realistic and they change so fast. When all the neon lights are showing  a street full of seedy clubs and bars I was there with them on that street.  For one scene the lights dim and immediately rise to a completely different scene in about three seconds.  Miss Saigon is pure theatrical magic.

Gerline Rosales played the part of young Tam. What a little superstar he is. When Gerline was just sitting quietly there were times I wondered if he had been replaced by a doll, but then he hugs his mother and I’m welling up again.

If you’re still unsure about seeing this, may I suggest you check out the trailer below. I watched it earlier and was hit with a tsunami of emotions.

Thank you to the Hippodrome for inviting me last night. I loved every moment, the songs are unforgettable, the choreography is immaculate, the sets took me to Vietnam and the set changes were unbelievable. Miss Saigon is magical and unmissable.

Miss Saigon is at Birmingham Hippodrome until September 23rd book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/miss-saigon/

This isn’t a sponsored post but Julie and #BrumHour Dave (as I’m apparently now known, were invited to see Miss Saigon at the invite of Birmingham Hippodrome.