Thursday, 28 February 2013

Miss Saigon, Joseph Rowntree Theatre York

Celia, Alison and I saw Miss Saigon touring in Aberdeen about 6 years ago. It was magnificent, I'd already seen the same production in Bradford and so knew I had to see it again. It had been the first time I'd seen the show though I had a recording and knew it all off by heart. Seeing it had been a life changing experience though. Seeing it blew my mind. Miss Saigon became my favourite musical. So after seeing Les Mis for the third time and discussing with Paul and Anna "So! What's your favourite musical?" Paul liked Les Mis and Anna suddenly remembered Miss Saigon which of course is written by the same folk; Boublil and Schonberg.
When I saw the poster up in the Theatre Royal the next day I went mad and had to tell Celia- who on her life-changing first experience of Miss Saigon had wept with old women in the audience and fallen in love with the creepiest character; Thuy.
We soon learned it was a local amateur group and that all the cast would be between 14-18 years old. This made us book instantly.
It was going to be hilarious. We got to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre (so called because it's opposite the Nestle factory), all the staff were elderly men in bow-ties and looking at the £1 programme none of the cast members were asian- brilliant.
Except I'll tell you what, it actually WAS brilliant.
The singing kids of York were cast by ability not just because one of them was asian so she got to be Kim, none of that got in the way, everyone just sang really really well and they WERE the parts! No offensive make-up, costumes or accents, just great singing!
That's the good thing about Miss Saigon and Les Mis and Evita, there's no talking in between the songs, that's why Madonna was good in that film because all she had to do was sing and dance, no acting was required and so the kids in tonight's Miss Saigon were all fantastic in their parts because they didn't have to worry about being great actors, they were already great singers.
There is only one part that required comic timing and sort-of-acting and the boy playing the Engineer was really good, the America Dream was fantastic and choreographed so well that I think I might actually have preferred it to the version I saw in 2007. The kid playing Thuy really got into his part as well, he was evil to the point that when he died we were all pleased and I didn't really get why Kim still felt guilty a year later, usually he's her cousin and she is a bit sad that she's had to kill him but in this he was so frickin' evil there was no way she'd ever regret it! Good fun though and he was ace as a dancer in the American Dream, he was REALLY into it!!
I'm going to see more stuff at the Rowntree Theatre, the staff were lovely, all the seats were great and it was so cheap! I look forward to seeing Evita there soon!!
Goodnight Mr Tom tomorrow! Theatre trip five of five!

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