“The heat is on in Saigon” sings the cast in the opening scene of this spectacular production. It’s steamy, it’s sexy, it’s full of life and hope and love. And it’s Opera Australia so you know the singing is excellent.
This wonderful production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s adored musical, based on the equally marvellous Madama Butterfly, is simply sensational and includes some really stellar performances. The cast are superb, and that’s quite remarkable given that this is a main-stage debut for many of the performers.
The show features some of musical theatre’s best-known songs including ‘The Heat is on in Saigon’, ‘Last Night of the World’, and ‘American Dream’. There is also a new song, ‘Maybe’, in the last act that adds some depth and balance to the storyline.
This Cameron Mackintosh revival production has wowed audiences in London and on Broadway, but Opera Australia has added its own touch with the local cast. It showcases an extraordinary depth and range of talent including singers, dancers, and acrobats. All the ensemble numbers are electrifying with brilliant costumes and powerful choreography, giving it a more burlesque feel in the big numbers. The show-stopping special effects, especially the helicopter as the troops leave the city, give Miss Saigon an incredible wow-factor that never fails to impress!
The ‘Miss Saigon’ of the show’s title is Kim, played here by Filipino-Australian performer Abigail Adriano. It’s a tragic role and Adriano handles it with flair and maturity. We really do feel her pain. Adriano has a lovely stage presence with a clear and versatile voice. As the story unfolds she is able to share the emotional development of her character.
“Miss Saigon means so much to so many of us. To some it tells an important and deeply personal story of hardship that some of our family members have endured, and to others it’s an opportunity to be seen and perform one of the biggest shows in musical theatre history on the iconic Sydney Opera House stage,” said Adriano of being cast in the principal role.
Amidst such a talented cast, it’s hard to pick a favourite but the stand-out performer has to be Seann Miley Moore as The Engineer. He’s the Mr Fix-It of Saigon and manager of the brothel where most of the action takes place. Seann Miley Moore camps it up outrageously and gives his character a huge personality – he absolutely owns every scene. There is a dark side to the character – The Engineer is not a very nice person – but with this gay re-imagining we see that he too is battling his demons. Seann Miley Moore really is exceptional.
Every element of this production is superb, from the sets and costumes, to the lighting and music. This really is breathtakingly good. And in great news for Adelaide, it’s coming to the Festival Theatre in January. Tickets to Miss Saigon could make the perfect Christmas present! It’s sure to be a sell-out season, so book now.
2 – 18 Jan, 2024
Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide