Miss Saigon – 25th anniversary performance in cinemas – Review

Miss Saigon The 25th Anniversary Performance poster portraitTo celebrate the 25th anniversary of Cameron Mackintosh’s most recent production of Boublil and Schönberg’s haunting musical, Miss Saigon – 25th Anniversary Performance will be screened at cinemas across the UK today (16 October).

The film mixes footage from the last night at the Prince Edward Theatre in February, along with selections from the 2014 gala show. Featuring the stars from the London production, including Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada (due to reprise their roles of The Engineer and Kim respectively on Broadway in the spring), the cast also includes Alistair Brammer, Hugh Maynard, Tamsin Carroll and Rachelle Ann Go.

Cinemagoers will also have the chance to see the 25th anniversary performance cast joined on stage by original cast members Jonathan Pryce, Lea Salonga and Simon Bowman.

The film itself is very impressive, especially considering the orchestra and vocals were taken directly from the show’s sound system – one take and no overdubs. The cinematography transports you directly into the world of the musical, making it often difficult to remember applause is more suited to a theatre rather than a cinema.

The intimacy of the film, complemented by close-ups and sweeping sound, allow the audience to connect with the characters’ emotions, right down to the finest detail.

Perhaps the only disappointing aspect of the film is the dismissal of the outstanding choreography during group dance numbers. With cameras focusing on the acting, it often feels as though the ‘wider picture’ of the musical is left in the hands of the imagination too often; disappointing when these scenes prove to be a true spectacle live.

However, the film overall is a wonderful tribute to the musical’s 25th year of success.

Picture: Roy Tan

Picture: Roy Tan

This production is directed by Laurence Connor with musical staging by Bob Avian and additional choreography by Geoffrey Garratt. Production design is by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley, based on an original concept by Adrian Vaux, with costume design by Andreane Neofitou, lighting design by Bruno Poet, sound design by Mick Potter, orchestrations by William David Brohn, musical supervision by Stephen Brooker and John Rigby, and musical direction by Adam Rowe. 

Miss Saigon has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jnr and Alain Boublil, adapted from original French lyrics by Boublil with additional lyrics by Michael Mahler.

The musical has been performed in 28 countries, in more than 300 cities, and in 15 different languages. It has been seen by over 35 million people worldwide and has won more than 40 awards including two Olivier Awards, three Tony Awards and four Drama Desk Awards.

There are plans to take the production to Japan next year and to Germany, Australia and Asia, and on tour around the UK, Europe and the Middle East over the next few years.

Miss Saigon – 25th Anniversary Performance will debut in cinemas ahead of its DVD release.

Polly Sisley

Readers may also be interested in:

Miss Saigon 25th anniversary film to debut in cinemas – News

Miss Saigon begins UK tour in July 2017 – News

Interview – original Chris, Simon Bowman on Miss Saigon 25th anniversary film


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