The curtain draws back to stick you right in the heart of the action - amidst the hectic, war-torn streets of Vietnam, lined by stunning sculpted scenery, soundtracked to perfection and brought to life by a huge, perfectly choreographed cast.
This opening snapshot may only last a couple of minutes, but it’s a good indication of exactly how strong the musical is going to be for the remaining two hours and fifteen minutes.
Miss Saigon follows the tail of Kim (Sooha Kim), a young Vietnamese girl who disoriented by a bombing, is taken from her hometown to work as a bargirl in 'Dreamland', a bar and brothel run by 'The Engineer' (Red Concepción), close to the end of the Vietnam War.
Chris Scott (Ashley Gilmour), a sergeant out of his comfort zone in the bar, is encouraged by his friend John Thomas (Ryan O’Gorman) to pick up a girl in the club. He eventually meets Kim and they fall in love. The script follows their time together and struggles after they’re seperated.
Miss Saigon is nothing less than heart-wrenching. It's a whirlwind of a performance. From start to finish, there’s reason to feel sorry for near enough every character on stage - an indication of just how impressive the writing of this musical (by Boubil and Schonberg) really is.
The script provides an honest, brutal look at the consequences and victims of the Vietnam war, and the cast are absolutely outstanding. Each plays and moves with aplomb and the singing is spot on - ranging from catchy to (more often) tear-jerking. Red Concepción and Sooha Kim stand out.
What really made this performance so special for us though was the staging; the scenery, the bold, prominent colour scheme, the surround sound noises and the scale and extremities of the staging to put you right there with the characters - a tough ask given the restrictions of a stage but one the helicopter scene in particular achieved with merit. Our jaws dropped. We were blown away.
If any production which can generation an emotional, visual and audible reaction from a crowd is a success, then Miss Saigon should sell out every night. There were tears from all corners, spliced with gasps, laughter and more tears.
Missing Miss Saigon would be a huge mistake. The show is absolutely sensational and the sheer scale of the performance is something not often seen in Edinburgh.