Miss Saigon UK Tour: Birmingham Hippodrome.
Reviewed on 9th August 2017.
Miss Saigon tells the story of Kim, a dancer who meets and falls in love with a GI called Chris during the Vietnam war. It is an epic love story with many messages of love, protection and an outstanding score by Boublil and Schonberg.
The main reason I wanted to see the show was because of Ryan O’Gorman playing John and he did not disappoint. His voice is just perfect for ‘Bui Doi‘ and his acting during the song also was passionate and engaging. During the opening scenes he was very good at acting the randy, butch, cocky Marine and I liked how his character changed by Act two to become more caring and compassionate. His onstage chemistry with all the cast, especially Ashley Gilmour, was great and thoroughly believable.
Ashley Gilmour, Chris, was fantastic. I loved his acting and his vocals were spot on. He played the character really convincingly and the relationship with Kim seemed really true and honest. He commanded good stage presence and wasn’t too over the top despite some of the key songs and events happening on stage.
I was lucky enough at see Joreen Bautista (alternate Kim) and she was just remarkable. How someone has that much talent at just 17 is crazy! She was so committed and her acting was amazing, especially during the tough scenes when she is defending her son, the torture scenes and the nightmare scene. She was utterly convincing and her vocals were amazing. Joreen has great range and can go from soft and gentle to a full on belt really well. Thuy’s death scene was amazing (it was a shame the gun shot did not work but it didn’t throw any of the actors) and her scream was heartfelt and gave me a chill. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for her in the business as at 17 she is already outstanding.
Zoe Doano, Ellen, showed a really strong yet vulnerable side of Ellen. I loved the argument with Chris in the hotel room and felt that she showed the character off really well. Again vocals were superb!
I saw Christian Rey Marbella as the Engineer and he started off a bit shaky but got steadily better throughout the show. He commanded the audience in the second act during ‘American Dream‘. I think I had been spoilt by seeing Jon Jon Briones performing it in the West End.
Gerald Santos, Thuy, was great in the role. I could actually understand what Thuy was saying/singing which really helped! His death scene was very realistic. I do wish he had been a bit more menacing in this scene though, and for the nightmare scene. However I really enjoyed his general acting and stage presence and his vocals were really good.
All of the cast were really good in their roles. The scenes in the flashback were so cleverly performed and the helicopter was still amazing! I wasn’t sure how they would do this on tour but it was just as effective as in the West End. Most of the set, scenery, costumes etc seem to be direct from London and it felt like the same show just on tour which is great for those who had not had the chance to see it in London in 2014. The changing of the set was swift and most changes went un-noticed. The use of smoke and lighting really helped give it atmosphere, especially during the nightmare scene.
If you get the chance to see it, I would! It’s a fantastic score, the orchestra were amazingly talented and clearly it is a high budget show with top notch cast and creatives.
Miss Saigon is touring the UK in 2017 and 2018. Get tickets from: https://www.miss-saigon.com/uk-ireland-tour