THERE’S a moment in Miss Saigon when a life-size helicopter appears to land centre-stage to evacuate the American GIs trapped at the height of the fighting as the Viet Cong drive them from Saigon.
As staging a theatrical moment goes, it’s a tour de force, something that can be said for many aspects of Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon, that tours to the Festival Theatre, next week.
Inspired by Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Miss Saigon tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War, 17-year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious pimp known as the Engineer.
There she meets and falls in love with Chris, an American GI, but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon.
For three years Kim goes on an epic and heart-breaking journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son. But will they be reunited...
Since its London premiere in 1989, Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history.
The original Broadway production opened on April 11, 1991 with what was the largest advance sale in Broadway history - $37 million.
The show went on to play for nearly ten years and 4,063 performances seen by more than 5.9 million people and has now been performed in 28 countries and in 15 different languages.
In the new touring production Filipino musical theatre star Red Concepcion plays The Engineer, Sooha Kim is Kim, and Ashley Gilmour, who last appeared in the Capital as Link Larkin in Hairspray, is Chris.
Red Concepcion’s many theatre credits in his native Philippines include Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Alan Strang in Equus, while Sooha Kim made her professional debut in West End run of this production at the Prince Edward Theatre. There she covered the role of Kim before playing it in the Japanese production. Ashley Gilmour also appeared in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward.
Based on the Broadway staging, which closes on Sunday, Variety magazine described the production as ‘A stunning and jaw-dropping spectacle with lavish sets and special effects, and sumptuous production numbers, meticulously mounted,’ adding, ‘This is what people mean when they talk about ‘A Broadway Show’.
Grab a bit of Broadway in Edinburgh while you can.
Miss Saigon, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, next Wednesday-17 Feb, 7.30pm (2.30pm), £19-£65, 0131-529 6000