The production embodies the passion of the story and ensures you are completely transported to '70s Saigon.
Four years after the revival of Miss Saigon in the West End, the production has finally reached Southampton on its UK tour. Loosely based on the opera Madame Butterfly, it shares a tragic love story beginning at the tail end of the Vietnam War. Deep in the heart of Saigon, 17 year-old Kim (Joreen Bautisa) is ‘saved’ by the Engineer (Red Concepción) and put to work in a bar full of prostitutes; it is here where she and G.I. Chris (Ashley Gilmour) meet and their love story begins.
You’re thrown into the action straight away; the lighting, sound effects and special effects all scream Vietnam War. The stage immediately changes from a war scene to a jazzy bar full of neon signs, laughter, music and women owning the stage in their provocative outfits competing for ‘Miss Saigon’, later won by Gigi (Kristine Diaz).
I was initially disappointed to see that the Kim of the evening was the understudy. However, Bautisa quickly proved me wrong. She embodied the innocence and fear of Kim, timid and quiet during ‘The Heat is On’. As the play progressed, she moved myself and many around me with her passion and her spectacular voice, she was faultless in her performance.
I cannot talk about the production without complementing Concepción’s Engineer. Providing a well needed laugh throughout the production, whilst not taking away the seriousness of the play, Concepción wasn’t playing the Engineer, he was the Engineer.
A highlight within the show however was ‘The Morning of the Dragon’. The immaculate choreography with the dragon, props and beautiful singing from the ensemble was mesmerising and hypnotising. The time and effort invested into the choreography made look it effortless, the routine perfectly embodying a military march. The passion for the production was identifiable from each individual dancer.
Miss Saigon is at Mayflower Theatre until 17th March with more UK dates to follow.