Miss SAigon - 31 July 1999

Cast:
Engineer - Leo Valdez
Kim -Cezarah Campos
Chris - David Shannon
John -Richard Lloyd King
Ellen - Grania Renihan
Thuy - Jo Jo de la Cerna

My thoughts on the cast are the same as at 18 April 1998 so it seems excessive to repeat myself but I will comment on Grania Renihan as she was the only different person. I did not like her part of ‘I Still Believe' it came over very harshly and it seemed as though the notes did not always come naturally but in the second act her voice seemed to come into it's own and she provided a very credible Ellen. I have to mention the finale, I know in all productions this is heartbreaking but the way Cezarah and David play it brings something else. Following Kim's ‘hold me one more time' the music pauses on the first note of Sun and Moon as Chris joins hands with her again as in ‘Sun and Moon' originally and then as the music starts he brings her into one last embrace. After her final words, although her ‘so far....' is whispered as though from another place, Chris holds her sobbing and then as the music comes into the final crescendo he looks at Ellen and then grabs Kim and pulls her to him in as he cries ‘No'. How can anyone fail to be moved by this.

As with any show seen again and again more and more detailed elements of the show stay in your mind. Kim's anguish as she falls down in despair when she thinks Chris is going to leave her, Thuy on his knees before Kim begging her to say yes, Gigi's yearning look at the ceremony shrine and as that final shot rings out Chris grabbing Tam and shielding him as at first he believes the shot is from the street and then of course his realisation where the shot came from.

This was the final matinee of some of the cast so there were a few jokes being played which only a veteran viewer would pick up but nothing that would detract from the performance. It is so sad that Saigon will soon be gone but the memories of this show will live on.

9 August 1999

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