There is something to be said for sitting in the front row at the theatre. It’s not the ideal place to be if you’ve not seen a show before, as you are so close to the action that you are constantly turning your head to look in particular places. Saying that however, if you’ve seen a show a few times and really want to immerse yourself in the production, front row can be a great way to see and hear things you may not previously have noticed.
This was my eighth visit to see Miss Saigon in the year it has been back in the West End and so it is no secret that I’m a fan of the show. As there has recently been a cast change, I thought it was a good opportunity to tell you what I thought of the new cast members.
Siobhan Dillon as Ellen was lovely to watch. I always enjoyed Tamsin Carrols performances but agree the casting of Siobhan fits better and she has a wonderful voice. It’s a nice character and although fairly small in comparison to the others, there are some great vocals to be heard in this role and her version of Maybe (written for the 25th anniversary production to replace Now That I’ve Seen Her) was powerful and memorable. Siobhan is known for appearing on the TV show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria and also for playing Molly in Ghost the Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre.
Sangwoong Jo as Thuy was a little hard to understand at times and could use some training for his diction now he has been cast in the role. Chris Peluso as Chris was good. He has a different look to Alistair Brammer (who recently finished playing the role) but brings a more soppy side to the character. Chris was recently a part of the original Broadway cast of Beautiful the Carole King musical. Natalie Mendoza as Gigi was great. She more than fills the shoes left to her by phillipino pop star Rachelle Ann Go who has left the show to join the cast of Les Miserables next month playing Fantine.
Eva Noblezada, Hugh Maynard and Jon Jon Briones continue in their roles as Kim, John and The Engineer for a second year, with Tanya Manalang playing the role of Kim Thursday evenings and Saturday Matinees. Christian Rey Marbella will now play The Engineer on Monday evenings.
Miss Saigon tells the story of the Vietnam War. GI’s Chris and John go to blow off steam in a bar and Chris ends up spending the night with 17 year old prostitute Kim, who has just arrived at the bar after losing her family in the war. The girls in the bar are under the watchful eye of their slimy pimp, known as The Engineer, who’s plotting and scheming ways are focused around finding a way to get an American Visa so he can start a new life. Chris promises to come back for Kim and take her to America to start a new life with him but once back in the US he finds love and marriage with Ellen, whilst Kim never loses hope that he will return for her. When news reaches Chris that Kim has had his child, he travels to Bangkok with wife Ellen to see if it is true. Will Chris leave his wife Ellen and carry out his promise to Kim, or will he leave Kim high and dry with his son?
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Miss Saigon is currently booking at the Prince Edward Theatre until 19 December 2015. Click here to get top price tickets for just $49.50 (book by 30 June)