Sensational, Sexy and Miss SaiGOOD!
Fizzing with excitement to see this show, I felt like a child again – going into the unknown. Somehow I had managed to get to the ripe age of 23 without seeing or knowing the storyline of Miss Saigon, and I’m so glad. It meant I could appreciate, love and adore every drop this extraordinary production had to offer. No wonder 9 ‘Whats On Stage Awards’ were granted to this outstanding production.
Miss Saigon tells an epic tale of love between an American GI, Chris and Vietnamese orphan of War, Kim. But don’t be fooled, this is not your typical tragedy. Filled with stunning, scantily clothed dancers, hunky soldiers and love scenes juicy enough to turn any face a fancy shade of pink.
Eva Noblezada is simply phenomenal. In addition to her flawless embodiment of Kim, her singing sent tingles up the backs of my legs; a hypnotic performance. I was touched to see her interact with the very young male actor who plays her son ‘Tam’. When broken out of character during the bows, Eva was playful and mischievous with him, full of care and kindness, which shone through in their performance.
Comedy characters in musicals often cause me intense irritation, I struggle not to make grotesque faces at my disdain. In complete contrast, The Engineer (Jon Jon Briones) in this performance is undoubtedly one of my new favourite musical characters. A strong, diverse character who you’ll love, hate, admire and despise all at once. ‘The American Dream’ musical number filled the audience with laughter and was delivered so spectacularly, it was impossible not to enjoy. All brought to life by Jon Jon Briones who started in the ensemble of Miss Saigon 25 years ago, and now takes the lead role of the show, quite the adventure.
The ensemble of Miss Saigon were exceptional, without a single weak link to the pack. It’s bewildering how the girls who bring ‘Dreamland’ to life have so much versatility. Morphing from sanguine, glamorous, exotic dancers to the anxious, helpless homeless. Not only their flexibility in characterisation, but the entire ensemble’s ability to bend in every direction and tap toes on foreheads, was impressive!
It’s not all glamour and glitz, Miss Saigon shows the heartbreaking realities of War. The Bui Doi, ‘Dust of Life’ scene told the story of children left behind, the innocent victims of conflict. Made particularly poignant through the use of a back drop projection of current affairs; Syria children in crisis. The presentation of real children suffering, made the tale being told real and raw . The production is donating part of the proceeds through the Mackintosh Foundation to Save The Children, Syria Crisis Appeal.
I couldn’t ask for more from this performance, but I did! The delightful and extremely talented, Kanako Nakano from the cast, agreed to answer all of my burning questions!
The performance felt like the opening night, with an incredible amount of energy. Every dance step on point and every note on key. Do you think the cast have felt a boost of energy since winning a remarkable 9 ‘Whats On Stage’ Awards?
Winning 9 What’s On Stage awards was absolutely exciting for all of us, we are so grateful for all the support from our audience and very proud of everyone! It’s great to hear that it looked like an opening night performance. Personally I would like to give the same energy every show as we have a different audience each day and it is our responsibility to give the best performance every time. It’s our job! 😀
Sounds exhausting but I can tell you love every second. The ensemble are incredibly fit and on stage for the vast majority of the performance, do you work together to keep so fit and agile?
Regarding our own fitness, it’s very individual. So many people go to gym by themselves, some people takes dance classes, gymnastic classes and so on. Everyday we do our physical warm up and vocal warm up together just before the show. Working on this show everyday is a great work out for me.
There is a lot of extremely intimate, close contact made between actors, usually in little clothing – was this difficult to get used to during rehearsals? What techniques do you use to avoid it being awkward?
I think this varies for each individual, I am very much used to intimate scenes in this show as I have played it so many times and for so many years. 😉 I think initially, getting to know people you’re going to work with and becoming comfortable with them is really important. The funny thing is, when you’ve been working together, doing the same things every night, you’ll find yourself being so used to it and not worrying any of it at all. I can see so many girls who were not used to these kind of scenes back in rehearsals, they have changed a lot! 🙂
You’re so brave! I was completely dazzled by the ensemble, they barely left the stage. I lost count of how many different costumes you appeared in, is it mad back stage with constant swapping of wigs and wardrobe changes?
Yes!! We have so many quick changes and it’s non stop even off stage! We have our quick change areas at substage just behind our orchestra. All the dressers, performers and wigs department never stops moving around and we all have our individual routines in the show.
Due to my plot in this show, once the performance starts I actually don’t have time to relax until the curtain call. I am so grateful for all the help from dressers and wiggies, without them this show would not happen! And of course all the stage management, and every department!
There are so many people and departments helping each other to make this show happen. I do love our production very much, they really are a great bunch of people.
I can imagine it’s a dream to perform in Miss Saigon 8 shows a week, are there any other parts you’ve got your eye on for the future?
I love this show so much and it’s such a privilege to be back in the show and working with all these amazing people everyday. I am 2nd cover to Gigi in this production and I don’t see myself playing and covering any other part. Every role in the show is so important to create this amazing production and I love that everyone has got individual stories. I’m not sure what I would play after Miss Saigon, but I always love challenges and I do love comedy as well. There are still so many things to work on for myself and I am very excited for the great unknown!
♥ Special Thanks to Kanako Nakano for giving me so much of her time and spoiling me with the Secrets of Saigon.
♥ Thanks to Gregory Spong for inviting me to this incredible performance and Graham McAlpine for organising us all to go!
Time: 2 hours and 50 amazing minutes, with a cheeky interval.
Previously@ Royal Drury Lane 25 years ago, it has since been performed in 300 languages all over the world.
Running: Just been extended for a 2nd year.