Monday, 27 October 2014

Review: Miss Saigon at London Prince Edward Theatre

A return to our Theatre Blog... Victoria Ling, from 137 Imaging (  is guest reviewer:

Miss Saigon
London Prince Edward Theatre
9th October 2014.
Currently booking until April 2015
Photo: Matthew Murphy

I first saw this on a school theatre trip back in 1992 and I remember walking out the theatre thinking that was one of the best things I have ever seen and being blown away by the set design.

Photo: Matthew Murphy
Recently I took a trip to
London and with a spare afternoon I got a last minute ticket, which was better than I thought – I bought a £89.50 ticket for a snip at £27.50, sitting in the stalls to a full house.

Photo: Michael
Le Poer Trench
Without giving the game too much away, I think we all know that this is a musical set in
Saigon when American troops filled the streets, which is what we open up to – dancing girls with their pimp, or The Engineer, as we are introduced. And what a comical but deadly serious role played by Jon Jon Briones, who sets the scene and the pace with his dancing girls of Dream Land.

Photo: Michael Le Poer Trench
At the age of 12 I did not really understand Vietnam and the war, I just saw dancing and flashing lights and people communicating in song. Even playing back the original recording I was just listening to lyrics but fast forward to this day in 2014 I was understanding every lyric and this time it was more emotional watching this performance rather than just pure excitement.

Photo: Michael
Le Poer Trench
We are hearing the dancing girls, like that of Gigi (Rochelle Ann Go) dancing to survive and in hope to marry a GI to take her back to the land of dreams.  We are then introduced to leading lady Kim (Eva Noblezada who as an orphan because of war needs a chance of survival.  Every note and movement from these actresses literally grabs you by the heart. One song that stuck in my mind is Movie In My Mind with the line, “They kill like men. They die like boys”.

Photo: Michael
Le Poer Trench
And boys being boys, the GI’s are celebrating that they are about to leave Saigon by going to a bar to get girls, though lead GI, Chris (Niall Sheely) is a bit disenchanted by all of this until he is thrown with virgin Kim by his friend John (Hugh Maynard).  Guess you can say it was a chance meeting as Kim and John do not want this, “You are sunlight and I moon. Joined by the gods of fortune”.  And then the love story begins and the promise to get out of Saigon to spend their lives together but an unfortunate twist of events happen.

Photo: Michael
Le Poer Trench
We are introduced to some very strong supports before Act 1 ends.  We see Kwang-Ho Hong playing the powerful Thuy who Kim’s parents promised her too but unfortunately he has returned too late.  We witness the reunification of
Vietnam - quite a powerful piece of choreography.  Thuy is now commissar and seeks the help of the Engineer.

Photo: Matthew Murphy

We also see Chris’s wife and new life, Ellen (Tamsin Carroll) as Kim is still in Saigon with her and Chris’s new life who is probably the most heart warming character of Tam (Chloe Kuet).

Act 2, we are in Atlanta with the GI’s and open with a very poignant piece of the Bui Doi, a charity for the orphaned mixed race children – the dust of life.  This reunites John and Chris and they now know of Kim and her child.  We are then thrown into Bangkok hoping for a fairytale for Kim and Chris but this is the Vietnam war we are watching before our eyes and even in theatre land it cannot be a fairtytale – can it?

We see that the strip world is also a very different world with the ending of the war. GI’s are replaced by tourists. 

Photo: Michael
Le Poer Trench
Act 2 surely comes alive with spectacular stage management and with that so did the child in me.  For those that are familiar with the show I am sure you know what I am talking about. And for those that have not seen it, I really cannot spoil it for you.

The second set is just as a powerful as the first one.  All main characters are there, even the dead one’s!  In fact it is so powerful I do not think anything else I can say can do anymore.

I just leave you with this:

If you love theatre.  If you love musical theatre. If you want to be impressed by dancing and powerful performances and have a thing for set design and stage management then you must get a ticket for this show.  A ticket for this show is like the American Dream, if the full house standing ovation is anything to go by!

On The Web:
This review was written by Victoria Ling  for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Victoria on twitter @LilVik or follow her photography on Facebook (

Miss Saigon contains some scenes and language which may not be suitable for younger audience members. Therefore, the producers recommend the show for those of 12 years and above. 

For details of the current availability of tickets see the official website:

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