I feel like my heart has been shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. I’m currently travelling back home from London feeling incredibly emotionally drained and yet I’m leaving on a massive high. What an amazing weekend!
Produced by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and written by Boublil and Schönberg, Miss Saigon tells the tale of a doomed young Vietnamese bar girl who is orphaned by war and falls in love with an American GI. Their relationship is forced apart at the fall of Saigon and the story focusses on their lives and the decisions they face next.
I first watched the revival of Miss Saigon in May 2015 after religiously listening to the 25th Anniversary soundtrack… and the result of a train strike which never happened. From that moment, I fell in love with the show and its story and its beauty to the extent that it’s my joint favourite show alongside Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera. And that’s one hell of a statement to make.
Miss Saigon took its final flight at the Prince Edward Theatre at 7:30pm on Saturday 27th February after a successful two year run on the West End. Why God, Why? Having bought these tickets 228 days prior to its final performance, I waited with much trepidation and excitement for the last show. Biggest juxtaposition ever. It’s safe to say that it exceeded all expectations (like it always does) and I have been left in complete awe; wallowing in my own misery and heartbreak.
The evening of the Final Flight marked my second visit to Vietnam. And I’m already planning my third… oh wait! Still no need to fret because the UK Tour is coming in Summer 2017.
Now onto the show itself…
I managed to buy tickets on the third row of the stalls so we had a magnificent view and with it being such a huge theatre, we were so close to the stage so we could hear all the ad-libs. Upon arrival, I took off my coat, as you do, and looked around the theatre and spotted SIR CAMERON MACKINTOSH walking in with Boublil and Schönberg… my three actual idols who I never imagined that one day I would see in the flesh.
The performance was exhilarating. So much energy, so much emotion, so much love. The cast members put in their all and delivered a performance which I will never forget. Such a cliché but truer words have never been spoken. The heat truly was on.
I hadn’t seen the show with the likes of Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer and Marsha Songcome as GiGi so I was incredibly excited to have had the privilege to see their final show.
The first tear rolled down my face as soon as the curtain rose and the orchestra began; knowing that was the final time that that was ever going to happen for this cast in that theatre. This won’t be a review of Miss Saigon because it simply wouldn’t be fair to analyse the performances of the cast with it being the final show however, a few words must be said about the talented cast members.
Eva Noblezada who played Kim delivered such an exceptional performance of I’d Give My Life For You and You Will Not Touch Him and it truly resonated within the theatre and reduced me to a sobbing mess. She is such a talent. Her performance really was too much for one heart. I would’ve been rocking in the foetal position if I had the space to. The lady next to me told me that she had plenty of water in case I stopped breathing. I’m ridiculously excited to catch her reprising the role of Éponine at the Queens Theatre in less than five weeks!
Jon Jon Briones (who played the role of the Engineer) brought such an incredible charisma to the stage relieving the audience from the heartbreak of the previous scenes. The Engineer, in retrospect, is a vindictive character who uses the Bar Girls to his advantage to receive a VISA to the United States. With the charisma that Jon Jon brings to the stage, it is hard to dislike his character. He is such a phenomenal performer and truly deserves to be moving to Broadway alongside Miss Saigon and Eva Noblezada.
Hugh Maynard has such a spectacular voice. I will never, ever recover from his riffs in Bui Doi. That is now entirely HIS song and the applause in which he received after his rendition was extremely well deserved. What a waste it truly is that Miss Saigon has closed in London. I can’t wait to hear about his next role as Wordsworth in Travels With My Aunt.
Siobhan Dillon, who plays the role of Ellen, delivered such a heart breaking rendition of Maybe. Ellen is such a strong and inspirational character being so accepting of Chris’s situation. Should I be the one to stop your dream from living? I feel tremendous pity for Ellen and Siobhan’s performance truly made me sob.
Marsha Songcome and Sangwoong Jo are also two talents worthy of mentioning. A flawless performance from a phenomenal cast.
It was impossible to suppress the tears when the curtain came down. The show finished with Cameron Mackintosh, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg making an entrance on stage; three people who have made my two favourite musicals that I am wholeheartedly besotted with.
However, the heat is STILL on. Cameron Mackintosh revealed that the 25th Anniversary Gala performance which was filmed in 2014 is intended for cinema release in Autumn AND there is a potential for a fully fledged film adaption of Miss Saigon.
Miss Saigon has made such an impact on so many people, and myself included. I mean, have you seen how many people were gathered at the stage door in the picture above?! The cast, including Mackintosh, Boublil and Schönberg, were all popping their heads out of the dressing room windows greeting the fans and showing their love. It was such an experience! I even met Jon Jon Briones. So thank you Miss Saigon, for everything.
And tonight, I will be Miss Saigon