Miss Saigon 2014 - The New Production. My new and renewed love affair with Miss Saigon
Miss Saigon 2014 - The New Production. My new and renewed love affair with Miss Saigon.
Tonight I witnessed probably one of the best performances of Miss Saigon I have ever seen.
I first went to watch Miss Saigon back in 1989 with Lea Salonga playing Kim and Jonathan Pryce as the Engineer at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The stage at the Theatre Royal was massive, I believe one of the biggest stages in the West End.
I was lucky enough to watch the original version many times with various leads as Kim and the Engineer. I was also present at the 10th anniversary as well as the final ever performance at Drury Lane. I also had the pleasure of seeing Lea and Jonathan on Broadway as well. So I have always been a big fan.
I also watched the UK tour several times with some of the present cast as well. I am not sure if that makes me an expert but I do know the show very well.
The first time I heard that Miss Saigon was returning to the West End was around 3 years ago when the strong rumours started. Around 2 years ago, Sir Cameron Macintosh allowed the Daunsteys School to stage a one off performance at the Prince Edward theatre. Cameron was present on that night, again another clue that Miss Saigon was about to return once again.
I reckon I have seen Miss Saigon well over 50 times in total, but the new production only 3 times.
The first time I got to watch the new production, I had day seats and was at the back of the queue. I ended up with seats at the back of the stalls in a box that was kind of separated from the theatre audience. To be honest, the view was not that great and I really couldn't get into it. I did enjoy the evening nonetheless.
The second time I got to watch the new production was on the Gala night. I was in around the 14th row. Loved the show, to watch Lea and Jonathan on stage again was sensational. Even got to gatecrash the aftershow, one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Really enjoyed the performance again on that night. Again I just couldn't get into the main show itself. Don't get me wrong, had an awesome night. However just couldn't get up close or connect with the story.
Moving on tonight (sorry for the long intro but wanted to explain the context).
Woke up at 6am and queued for tickets. Managed to get row A!!! Decided to bring my son. I did bring him to the UK Tour before a few times and he loves the CD.
Sitting in Row A was a truly incredible experience. I was totally immersed in the story. Felt I was there on stage with the actors. Of course I know all the songs and what's coming next, however tonight I fell in love with the show once again.
First there was Jon Jon Briones, I am now of the opinion that he is one of the best, if not the best Engineers I have ever seen. Much respect to all the other actors who played the Engineer of course. Jon Jon has such incredible energy. Most of the cast now have been playing night, after night, after night. However they seem to treat every performance like it's their first. Jon Jon was totally mesmerising tonight, funny, exciting, clever and so passionate in the role. Met him after, he is also so accommodating and genuinely interested in meeting fans after. Jon Jon, you nailed it pare. Of course he was in the original production with Jonathan Pryce and actually started out as a runner at the theatre. So such an incredible story.
Moving on to Eva Nobledeza as Kim. I have to be honest first couple of times I watched her, I just couldn't connect with her. Tonight however, she totally blew me away. She is sensational. Every bit as good as all the Kim's before her. Eva of course is a Filipina American high school student who i believe is only 18 and yet has such an incredible voice, charisma and talent.
She put so much emotion into her performance. Have to be honest and say my eyesight is not as good as it used to be, so in the previous 2 shows I saw at the Prince Edward, couldn't quite see her facial expressions. I could tonight and could totally relate to her life and struggle as Kim. Super Galing Eva. Only sorry you rushed off at the end. Missed out on a photo. Sayang. Maybe next time.
Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi. What can I say, OMG and so much more. Rachelle is perfectly cast as Gigi. Some say she should have been cast as Kim. I disagree. Her rendition of 'Movie in my Mind' steals the show. Gigi is not the biggest part, however its crucial to the story and Rachelle plays it to perfection. I think the production would be making a massive mistake if they ever let her go. I wouldn't be surprised if her contract is extended. Such passion and emotion.
Finally, Hugh Maynard as John. What can I say, sensational voice and acting. Totally refreshed Bui Doi and brings it to a new audience. Super love his soulful rendition. Hugh is also one of the nicest guys you could probably ever meet. He oozes charisma and passion I even got a thumbs up and acknowledgement from him at the curtain call which was lovely.
I know this blog is a bit long and I am not sure if people would even be bothered to read all of it lol.
Tonight, my love affair with Miss Saigon which started my journey and encounter with the Philippines and Filipino people has been rekindled. #MissSaigon25 incredible!!!