Archive for October, 2010

Miss Saigon vs The Ninja Chicken

Posted in Review, Theatre on October 14, 2010 by darthtanion

Howdy doody folks.  If you laughed because I said doody then you need help.  (You need help with doody… hehe.  High five!)  Anywho, I have just returned from an evening at the theatre & have decided to load up the slingshot that is my ego & use it to launch my overrated opinion at you.  That’s right folks.  Please put on your goggles & attach something to protect your junk because here it comes, hard & fast…

Miss Saigon: The Review

Executive Summary: While not always perfect, this is a great production of an amazing show.

Review: As with pretty much all of my reviews I have to preface this by saying that many of the people in this show are personal friends of mine.  This means that my opinion is completely un-objective & you can’t believe a word I am saying.  Of course, this is a blog, so if you were really planning on investing stock in the opinions expressed here I really think you need to re-evaluate what the internet is about.  It’s about lies & pornography & I’m not so sure all of the pornography is the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth either but I digress.

I have to admit, when I heard Ignatians was doing the first amateur production of Miss Saigon seen in Brisbane I was skeptical.  No particularly surprised, however, Ignatians has a tendency to put on big shows & after the success of Les Miserables last year it was obvious they were looking for something that would really make people sit up & take notice.  I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised tonight by the standard of the production they put on but first, let me say what I didn’t like so we can get that out of the way.

The set.  Apologies to everyone I just offended, there was obviously so much work put into the revolving flats which were flipped & rotated to make up almost every scene & I know set design does come down to personal preference a lot of the time but I just didn’t get it.  The colour pallet didn’t seem to have any real continuity & I always felt as though I was missing some symbolism somewhere.  Perhaps I was.  I also disagreed with some of Kat Henry’s choices in direction.  Again, personal preference but this is my blog so who’s preference were you expecting to hear about?

Right, now that that’s over, let’s get on to what I did like & there is plenty to like about this performance.  The casting in this show is great.  Everyone fits their roles so well.  I was actually a little shocked that they managed to find people who could not only sing the roles but sing them so effortlessly.  Brad McCaw & John Peek were great as Chris & John & both had some amazing moments which really stuck with me.  Wade Colbran-Thomas gave an outstanding performance as Thuy & really commanded the stage every time he entered it.  I do have to say however that I think the women slightly outdid the men.  I’m not just talking about the ladies in skimpy underwear.  Yes they were absolutely stunning, I’m still not sure what the hell The Engineer was talking about while they were in Bangkok & I don’t care.  I can’t recall every seeing a ‘sexy’ scene in a musical done so… well… sexily.  Especially with community theatre.  Normally they just seem awkward & apologetic.  You know what I mean.  “Sorry folks, we know it’s rude but it’s in the script & we’re trying to be artists.  It will be over soon I promise & then we’ll get back to some singing.”  The brothel scenes were sexy & most of all fun.  A special hat tip to the lady-boys on stage.  I kind of wanted to burn my eyes out watching those skirts ride up to reveal what I can only describe as a devilishly clever plan to smuggle walnuts on stage but it was very funny all the same.  However, the girls who really stole the show for me were the ones who had the hardest job.  That job being living up to the inevitable comparison I was going to make between them & my two favorite Broadway stars, Lea Salonga & Ruthie Henshall.  Natasha York (Ellen) did a stunning job of owning her role.  She had impressive vocals during her solos & blended beautifully during the duets & the quartet.  However, while I’m not going to play favourites, Kimie Tsukakoshi (Kim) was my favourite.  She was just fantastic.  Strong, confident vocals backed by a passionate, heartfelt portrayal of a young girl trapped hopelessly in love with a man & a life she can only dream of.  Every bit as believable as all of the Vietnamese girls I ever got pregnant & left for dead in real life.

In short, if you can score tickets to one of the last to performances of this fantastic production you won’t be disappointed.  It’s community theatre at it’s finest which will leave you heartbroken & begging for more.

Unless there is a next time,
Goodbye forever.

Luke Venables
Portugese Rice Waxer