Miss Saigon West End Review || March 20

Two weeks ago today, I saw Miss Saigon in the West End for the second time. I only discovered Miss Saigon when the London revival was announced (and Alistair Brammer was cast in it as Chris), but it quickly became one of my favorite shows. I saw it with Stefanie this summer and fell absolutely in love with it. So I knew I needed to take my mom to see it!

The new and updated Saigon is much grittier than anyone who saw the original show will remember. It's a heartbreaking show with an insanely talented cast who are equally talented actors and singers. The sets themselves are stunning and any production that has both a car and a helicopter is impressive. Seeing the show a second time, with a slightly different cast made me realize how incredibly special it is. I could honestly talk about Miss Saigon all day, so I thought I should limit myself to some notable performances...

Niall Sheehy as Chris (x)
I never got to see Niall as Enjolras when he understudied the role in Les Miserables, so I was thrilled when I found out I would be getting to see him as Chris (even if I was a bit sad to be missing Alistair!). I knew that Niall was a talented performer, but I honestly don't think I had any idea how talented. He played a much younger Chris than Alistair's and seemed a bit like Mr. Bingley from Pride and Prejudice stuck in Vietnam (and yes, it was as heartbreaking as it sounds). He was so gentle and sweet in all of his scenes with Kim, but had an incredibly powerful "Why God Why" that I'll not forget anytime soon. He broke my heart over and over in his scenes, but especially in Kim's nightmare. On a side note, his American accent was very impressive considering the fact that he naturally has an Irish accent! Niall was an incredible Chris and I strongly urge anyone who has the chance to go see him when he's on. (He was also super sweet at stage door!)

Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi (x)
Rachelle plays a very tough and feisty Gigi and has powerhouse vocals in "Movie in My Mind." She makes me so sad that Gigi doesn't have more stage time! I can't wait to see what she'll do next...I'm hoping there may be another West End show in her future.

Tanya Manalang as Kim (x)
While I was sad not to be seeing Eva Noblezada again (as a fellow North Carolina girl!), Tanya Manalang stunned me as Kim. It honestly felt like going back in time and seeing a young Lea Salonga play the role! Her Kim was incredibly young and naive in the first section of the show--it helps that she's so tiny (keep in mind that I'm only 5'3"). Her interactions with Chris were adorable, but it was the way she acted with Tam that made me cry. I think part of Miss Saigon's power is that they have an incredible set of covers who can seamlessly step into the roles and steal your heart.

Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer (x)
Olivier Award nominee Jon Jon Briones can play the Engineer like no one else can. He manages to take a character who shouldn't be likable in any way and play him with enough charisma to win the audience over. However, in his more serious moments, he's legitimately terrifying! He plays the Engineer with the perfect mix of sleaze and charm and he had the entire audience laughing. There's really nothing like seeing Jon Jon perform "American Dream" live. I also just love knowing that he was in the original cast of Miss Saigon and things have come full circle! 

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