After having my ticket booked since the day of their closure announcement, I can’t quite believe that today I will be saying goodbye to Miss Saigon in the West End. See the picture above for some idea of the state I will be in after the show tonight. It will be no surprise to my friends and followers that I am a huge fan of this show, and it was only when I took the tickets out of my drawer ready for the trip to London that I sat and thought about why.
Now I’m usually one for fun, cheerful shows that are camp as hell and a joy to watch. You know, the kind that make you want to get up on stage and join them dancing even though you’d probably look a bit silly. But over the last 18 months I’ve noticed quite a change in my musical taste, with my favourite shows of 2015 being Tommy at the Greenwich Theatre (The Who’s concept album turned musical delight) and Miss Saigon – both quite serious and thought-provoking with only the occasional moment of comic relief or odd the upbeat track.
Tommy is a completely different kettle of fish, and if you really want to hear about that read the review, but Miss Saigon has something I feel a number of neighbouring West End hits don’t have, and that’s a bit of everything. It has the stunning soundtrack and memorable songs. It has the stellar cast, both a strong ensemble and some of the best leading actors and actresses in London right now (who are also a joy on Twitter may I add). It has a great set including the helicopter, the scene within which it is used getting applause of its own with every trip I’ve made. It has an emotional story with beautifully placed comic relief with the Engineer right when it is needed.
I could go on for hours but I have already reviewed reviewed this masterpiece in detail. And surely the awards speak for themselves – Miss Saigon has won loads! It isn’t often that I invest this much time and money in one musical. From my first trip (the second preview) to tonight, I have never felt let down by this show and I have been brought to tears with all six visits.
Even on top of all of that I feel like the show has done something else extraordinary. It has really embraced its fans. From chat on Twitter to West End Live to funny videos and Ethan and Simon’s YouTube channel Dressing Room Fourteen – Miss Saigon always has that extra something to offer the audience, particularly those like me who have come back time after time. I was lucky enough to get tickets for the 25th Anniversary Gala last year and it was without doubt one of the highlights of my life of theatre. Simply stunning, and no I’m not just saying that because of the free champers from Mr Mackintosh (big thanks for that).
I’m sure it will flourish on Broadway but I was so relieved by the announcement of a UK tour for 2017 this week. I wish it could have stayed longer in the West End but at least we are getting it back from the Americans!
I leave for central London in a few hours and it is very bittersweet. I’m so excited to see the show a seventh time but I’m extremely sad to see it go. Have a great final show and I can guarantee you I will be weeping and cheering from my favourite seats in the dress circle slips. See ya on tour Saigon!