POWERFUL, EMOTIONAL, CHALLENGING –
GUEST REVIEWER JOHN PETER WRITES:
Do you remember Vietnam? How, in the sixties and seventies, we
wondered whether the communist North would invade the free-living South?
In Washington, President Kennedy said that, in the end, the people of
Vietnam should decide that themselves. His bullish successor, Lyndon
Johnson, went for war. Young Americans sang ‘Hey, hey, LBJ, How many kids
have you killed today?’
Boubil and Schoneberg’s heartrending MISS SAIGON is an opera: vast,
brilliant, thrilling and moving. It is also a drama and a great moral –
political-erotic question. Who are we? the Vietnamese ask. What do
we want? Who can we believe? What is The American Dream? What will
it be like when we wake up?
The brilliant dancing in Laurence Connor’s production may look
like high-precision sexual entertainment, but it is more than that. I
have never seen so many beautiful girls demonstrating what their
delicate-looking but also athletic bodies can give to hungry men: yes,
but it is also an exhibition of hope. We will always be here, we are yours,
you are ours: this is our world.
Eva Noblezada is Miss Saigon, a sensual but delicate and kind
young woman, a passionate mother and a proud Vietnamese, proud but modest.
Alistair Brammer is Chris, a man who loves in body and heart: a gentleman
and a disciplined soldier. It is time for him to visit Chekhov and Ibsen,
don’t you think?
It is time to give more respect to what we call the Musical.
Like opera, it is drama in which music joins words, creates
and drives words, to speak to us.
I saw MISS SAIGON 25 years ago. It was powerful, emotional, challenging, even poetic. Laurence Connor’s production is the same, but even more so. I thought then that this musical – opera will stay with
us. It has.
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