Now as you probably already know, I am no romantic by any stretch of imagination, even if you stretch it along the principal component. Luckily, being a romantic is not a requirement for enjoying this musical – this is quite possibly the best romance I have ever seen.
It’s the story of an American soldier falling in love with a Vietnamese bar girl (prostitute) in Saigon, during the Vietnam War. They were separated for years when Saigon fell into the hands of the communists, and this is their story.
The story is inspired by the opera Madame Butterfly, but transported to a different setting. The opera is now on my list of things to see before I die.
There are musicals with crappy story and amazing music, or amazing story and crappy music, but it’s not often that we come across one that is amazing in both. When an epic gut-wrenching story joins forces with absolutely immaculate numbers that draw the deepest emotions, we get something like Miss Saigon.
I absolutely love all those resonant and drawn-out vibratoly pieces. Ellen’s song after confronting Kim was orgasmic. I didn’t know it’s possible for a song to convey so much sorrow. Kim’s “Finale” is also no less than amazing.
This production is a revival of the original from 1989. The cast is different and the musical itself has been slightly modified at quite a few places.
Kim in this production is played by Eva Noblezada. While it was good, it was also very different from the original by Lea Salonga. Eva’s voice sounds a lot more childish and innocent. I can’t really say I like it over Lea’s, but that’s probably only because I am a huge fan of Lea.
Story-wise… (I always read the synopsis before watching musicals because I find I enjoy musicals more that way, but I know some people treat musicals like movies, so I’ll put a spoiler guard here)
It’s VERY hard to pick a favourite song from this musical since so many of them are so good.
Though I’d say “Please” stands out, if not just for the lyrics and all the irony in the lyrics.
Interesting trivia – the melody for “Please” was actually originally intended for another number called “Too Much For One Heart”, that was eventually cut from the musical. It’s also very good.
In this production, they actually integrated some of the lyrics from “Too Much For One Heart” into “Please”. That was super cool!
“Sun and Moon”, just for the goose bumps.
You are here like a mystery.
I’m from a world that’s so different from all that you are.
How in the light of one night did we come, so far?
Outside, day starts to dawn.
Your moon still floats on high.
The birds awake,
The stars shine, too.
My hands still shake.
I reach for you.
And we meet in the sky!
You are, sunlight, and I moon,
Joined here, brightening the sky,
With the flame of love.
“How in the light of one night have we come so far?” is sung again at the very end of the musical, but has a very different meaning *melt*.
Go watch it! If you are not in London, fly here and go watch it!