I saw Miss Saigon on Wednesday 23rd July matinee at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
I did enjoy it however I think I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been for the audience... seemed there was a few youth club/dance school trips, but what can you expect for a summer holiday matinee?
Another thing that affected my enjoyment was the problems there seemed to be with the sound system, Leo Tavarro Valdez's microphone in particular. I didn't have a clue what was being sung for the first 15 minutes, and had trouble hearing the words themselves throughout the entire thing. I found it extremely hard to distinguish what the actors were singing and I got the impression that they weren't putting as much effort into it as they would if it were a Saturday evening performance.
As far as the music is concerned, I was not too bothered about buying the soundtrack as I have been for musicals I enjoyed more such as Phantom Of The Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar.
I think the main problem was all the hype it had been recieving in the press and from friends who have seen it who haven't seen some of the better musicals on the West End.
I would say though that it was definately worth going to see the special effects and sets they had. They were absolutely wonderful, the helicopter scene for example, the fall of Saigon and the Ho Chi Minh City scenes were wonderfully produced.
The highlight of the show for me though was Robert Vicencio's portrayal of Thuy, his singing was wonderful, as was his acting and he was by far the best performer in the show. He had the perfect mix of a man desperate to do what his family had wished in a war torn country whilst being rejected by his fiancee and doing whatever it takes to do what he feels is right.
Altogether, it was not a bad production, could haev been better and I am not to bothered about going to see it again. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
24 Jul 03
BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME, THURSDAY 29 MAY 2003
The much anticipated and talked about world famous musical Miss Saigon exploded onto the Birmingham Hippodrome stage this week. Composers, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg have used the scenario from Puccini’s Madam Butterfly to evoke a similar compassionate tale of a much-abused girl who, sadly, believes the lies told to her by a well meaning? GI who promises to marry her legally and get her to the USA.
Set during the last days of the Vietnam War, the story begins with a shock look at the life of Vietnamese women, forced to sell their bodies to American GIs in seedy bars to earn enough money to live. Realistic this maybe but somehow the best of Rodgers & Hammerstein it isn’t. Not that I am stuck in a time warp but I do like my musicals to be up lifting. Actually, the show is full of such shocking images and at times there was simply too much going on and the head was left feeling numb.
There are lighter moments principally from the character the Engineer played by Leo Tavarro Valdez, a dark almost Svengali figure who runs one of the popular nightlife venues for the war battered soldiers. However his morals and motives are most unscrupulous and he is a nasty piece of work behind a façade.
The boy meets girl element of the story focuses on the love between American GI Chris, played to great effect and with a attractive voice by David Shannon, and innocent Kim (Ima Castro), a village girl forced into prostitution after the death of her family. They are the best characters in the show and perhaps having the musical highlights without the any of the visual and verbal asides is the best way to take Miss Saigon. At the end of the day you cannot get away from the fact that this war happened and many of the events are all too close for comfort in these post Iraq days.
As with every Cameron Macintosh production I have seen the cast are superb and they work well together. Directed by Matthew Ryan and with lighting by David Hersey the show is tight and intimate when it needs to be. The set, designed by John Napier, is stunning and used to maximum effect. Then of course there is the grand scale of the full-size helicopter, 12ft statue of Ho Chi Min and full sized Cadillac. All very spectacular. However, lack of clarity at times in the spoken voice due possibly to problems with the sound system made it difficult to follow all of the dialogue. Ultimately, I still left feeling that all the media hype had not made it a better show. The production continues until 6 September.
- USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
Whatsonstage.com - Discount London theatre tickets, theatre news and reviews, Theatre videos, Theatre discussion, National Theatre Listings. Covering London's West End, all of Theatreland and all UK theatre. The best
for London Theatre Ticket Discounts.