When I went: 7 December 2015
Location: Prince Edward Theatre, London
Performers: Eva Noblezada (Kim), Jon Jon Briones (The Engineer), Chris Peluso (Chris), Siobhan Dillon (Ellen)
Creative team: Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil (book), Claude-Michel Schonberg (music), Alain Boubil and Richard Maltby Jr (lyrics), Puccini (Madame Butterfly – original opera), Laurence Connor (director)
Approximate price: £100
Special points: Emotional punch
Best bit: The Movie In My Mind / American Dream
If I could change one thing: More killer songs
Miss Saigon is a renowned and well-loved musical, based on Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. In my opinion, Boubil and Schonberg do not come near the high watermark of their work on Les Miserables, with only a couple of really memorable songs. However, the setting (the Vietnam war) is interesting and makes for a moving and relatable story.
Eva Nobledaza was undoubtedly strong as Kim, but I feel there could have been more light and shade in her performance, which felt like it was desperate and sad all the way through – although the material does not give much room for manoeuvre. Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer was charismatic even when nasty, and it was good to see Lloyd Webber’s protégée Siobhan Dillon (from the BBC’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria) as Ellen.
However, while I was moved by the material, I didn’t find myself remembering or wanting to play any of the songs afterwards.