Photos: Miss Saigon celebrates 25 years with Gala performance

Casts of the show old and new reunited for a special finale performance to mark the occasion

When Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Miss Saigon made its return to the West End this year it broke box office records and the opening night boasted fireworks over the Thames. Indeed Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who has been in producing for nearly 50 years and has a remarkable number of hugely successful productions under his belt, does nothing by halves and last night’s gala performance celebrating the 25th Anniversary of his fourth big hit Miss Saigon was no different.

A critical success when it opened, last night saw the cast pulling out all the stops. And no wonder with an audience which boasted the originators of the key roles Lea Salonga, Simon Bowman, Jonathan Pryce and Peter Polycarpou as well as writers Boubil and Schönberg and of course, the Sir Mackintosh himself. Alongside them were the lucky theatregoers that managed to get their tickets for this hit show at 1989 prices as well as a range of famous faces including Michael Xavier, Christopher Biggins, Ruthie Henshall and Craig Revel Horwood to name but a few.

Now, let me set the scene. We’ve seen the helicopter, resisted the temptation to sing along and, if the lady behind me is anything to go by, wept our way through the final act. The curtain comes down to a standing ovation and Jon Jon Briones asks us to "talk amongst ourselves". This is facilitated by the arrival along the aisles of ushers bearing bottles of champagne and champagne flutes. One top-up later and the curtain rises to reveal Salonga, the original Kim (and singing voice of Disney’s Jasmine and Mulan) centre stage. The audience erupts and Salonga begins with a pitch-perfect rendition of "This is the Hour" joined, a couple of verses in, by the full company. It’s an impressive start to an encore that "had me at hello".

Next up Rachelle Ann Go, the current Gigi and star in her home country of the Philippines, joins Salonga for "The Movie in my Mind". Their on stage balance is beautiful, a mark of truly accomplished performers. A little bit of fun next as Bowman, the original Chris joins his original Kim, for "Last Night of the World" and the current pair Eva Maria Noblezada and Alistair Brammer make up the four. There’s partner swapping and stealing back giving this romantic favourite a lovely comic touch.

Rounding off this trip down memory lane is the delightful Pryce returning as the Engineer. An audience favourite, he has us clapping along to his joyous and beautifully simple but delightfully funny rendition of "The American Dream". Copying the current Engineer Briones, Pryce makes his way onto the hood of the car (with a little help from a cast member) and does some rather surprising gyrating. Unlike in the show however, this car doesn’t contain a scantily clad lady but three well attired older men – Boubil, Schönberg and Cameron (aviators on).

And so we end with thanks all round from Boubil and Schönberg while Cameron tells us that this "something like tonight…is what [he] loves about musical theatre", a night when the show is no longer his or the writers’ but the casts’. And with a full cast (past and present) on stage with him, I can’t help but agree. It’s exhilarating to have the chance to see 25 years of one show’s history brought to one place, for one distinctly memorable night, and I’m pretty sure that’s not the champagne talking or indeed the final bow confetti.