Review: Miss Saigon, Theatre Royal Norwich
This massive Cameron Mackintosh musical is in Norwich for just over four weeks and certainly brings us a bit of Broadway, with dramatic sets, a huge cast and a 15-piece orchestra.
Set in Saigon, in the last few agonising days of the Vietnam War in the mid 70s, it deals with love, loss, corruption, motherhood, and basic survival - all against the backdrop of war and the desperation it brings.
It stars Ashley Gilmour as GI Chris, the US serviceman who keeps his emotions in check until he meets Kim, played by Sooha Kim from Korea, a beautiful young Vietnamese girl. Ashley grew up in Soham, Cambridgeshire, and his parents are now in Feltwell, near Thetford. As one of seven children, the audience could well be packed with his family! He has a lovely tone to his voice and we feel his turmoil as he is forced to leave Kim as the Americans evacuate Saigon.
Based on Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, there is no happy ending here. Indeed the whole piece is fairly dark, and not always an easy watch.
There are some wonderfully melodic numbers to savour such as The Movie in My Mind, and Sun and Moon, while The Heat is On and American Dream hit home, too. And watch out for the dancing - some of it is very raunchy!
Special mention must go to Christian Rey Marbella who plays The Engineer, the opportunist pimp, who perhaps best sums up the fight for survival faced by many as a so-called superpower attempts to support a seemingly threatening poorer country, causing numerous diverse ramifications: a situation still relevant today.
Miss Saigon continues until September 15. Visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk