Miss Saigon: 25th anniversary gala screening

I have heard a lot about Miss Saigon over the years, and had got myself into three of the big hits of the show; however I sadly missed it on the West End, therefore I snapped up tickets for this special one-off cinema screening as I was keen to see what it was all about – and to see how these “theatre in the cinema” screenings worked as this was my first.

Having gone in knowing very little about it, I found the show itself was very good. In case you don’t know, it’s set in 1970s Saigon, in the time of the Vietnam war and is based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. In this story though, many of the women of Saigon were working in brother, which is how young newbie Kim comes to meet Chris, the American GI. It then builds into a tale of love that spans across an ocean, or so it seems…

The music is of course great, the highlight tracks for me were the tracks I already knew of the opening title The Heat Is On, the emotional ballads I Still Believe and The Movie In My Mind. However I also enjoyed the Last Night Of The World and The American Dream which were new to me.

With the mix between the story and music in particular, it’s obvious to notice that it’s a Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg musical – for many of the themes and songs in the show are similar to their earlier work of the iconic Les Miserables. In all honesty, I think this is one reason why my appeal to the show was taken down a notch, as it almost felt too similar in my opinion.

However, it still made great entertainment which was oozing with dazzling sets and costumes, and held together by an incredibly talented cast.

As for the screening, this was also new to me and as of late the notion of cinema broadcasts of live theatre has caught public attention – questioning if they’re good or bad. For me, it definitely is not a substitute for live theatre; more a fact of reaching to a wider audience. I think it allows a great opportunity for those who either missed the chance to see it live, or to those who wish to relive that moment because they saw it live and enjoyed it. There’s definitely room for both – and I can’t see “live” theatre being replaced by the cinema anytime soon.

For me it was interesting because I guess the perks is that you get to feel much closer to the action and characters in the way it’s like watching a film; yet you lose the atmosphere of being able to take in the whole show and production values like you would when in a theatre.

Plus, the bonus of the evening was the 25th anniversary gala. While I haven’t followed the history of the show like some have, I still knew enough about it and respect theatre enough to appreciate that moment of the 2014 anniversary cast sharing the stage with many members of the original cast. It was a joy to watch that unique moment. There were added jokes and fun thrown in, which helped make it all the more memorable. A true celebration of another great show, that has kept audiences hooked and coming back over the years.

If you missed the screening, the DVD is released on the 24th of October. 

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts if you’ve seen the show or screening!