Miss Saigon flies into the Alhambra
The musical Miss Saigon literally explodes on to the Alhambra stage and from that moment ‘The Heat Is On’
First staged in 1989 and the second offering of Claude-Michel Schonbert and Alain Boublil after their success with Les Miserables, it is a story about love, separation and hope through hardship and sacrifice.
The plot was inspired by Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, where a Japanese geisha is abandoned by her American naval officer husband who later returns for their son. In Miss Saigon the location is changed to war-torn Vietnam and Pinkerton becomes U.S.Marine Chris.
Typical of musicals of that period it has a strong storyline. Kim is working in a seedy bar owned by The Engineer. On her first night she meets Chris and they fall in love. But their love is short-lived when Kim’s betrothed Thuy arrives on the scene, only to be rejected and leaves broken hearted.
Chris promises to take Kim with him when he leaves Vietnam but that never happens and we meet Kim three years later living with her young son in a run-down shanty town, whilst Chris has returned to America and married his sweetheart. What follows is a heart breaking conclusion laced with high drama and emotion.
Touring a production such as this is no mean task and the creatives have achieved a production that borders on brilliance. The set design, lighting and sound are some of the best that I have seen in any touring production for a very long time whilst Stephen Brooker’s musical supervision keeps the plot moving as it trips from military and gyrating melodies to sentimental and emotionally haunting ballads.
Benjamin Osborne’s choreography is totally amazing as are the whole cast, who with turbo charged energy slip seamlessly from sleezy, overly sexy routines to flag twirling military march precision.
But its Christian Rey Marbella as the sleezy Engineer who drives the show with his brilliant mastery of a difficult role that encompasses pathos and self-preservation one moment and flips to comedy the next.
Ashley Gilmour’s Chris is everything it should be strong in both voice, character and looks and blends beautifully Sooha Kim’s virtuous, sweet and moving Kim.
As the tough marine Sergeant, Rob Herron’s John was totally convincing whilst Gerald Santos’s, Thuy successfully handled the character whose love eventually turned to hate
Runs until 20 October. To book call 01924 43000 or click here.
Liz Coggins is a member of The Critics Circle.