Miss Saigon (The School Edition) was produced last year in the Opera House, Belfast in July in the evening and I was entertained by a superb cast of young people ranging, in age from Sam at 3 years of age, to others all the way up to 18 years of age. The singing from all the principles was superb, with Nimh McAuley, Nathan Johnston, Louis Fitzpatrick and Conor O’Price providing outstanding performances that more than did justice to the story.
Miss Saigon is set during the time of the last days of America’s time in Vietnam, the relationship of GI’s with local girls, and the fallout when the USA’s government decide to leave Vietnam and in so doing leave so many local wives and children behind! These children (commonly known as “children of the dust”) were not accepted within Vietnamese society, and for a long time, the USA didn’t want to know about them also!
Nathan Johnston’s performance as Chris and his relationship with Niamh McAuley as Kim is faultless, moving you along the central rollercoaster of their love, with the relationship brought to the abrupt end with America’s abrupt withdrawal from Vietnam. Louis Fitzpatrick as John provides a lovely acting exercise from being the soldier who does to being the leader of the charity trying to provide support for the children left behind.
In this wonderful mix comes Conor O’Brien the Engineer. He reminds me in some ways of George Cole as spiv “Flash Harry” in St Trinians. The manipulator and entrepreneur who doesn’t quite have the class of girls to win out.
The supporting cast was equally wonderful, with all the set changes carried off flawlessly and as were their numbers.
In mentioning the set changes, I must also mention the sets, lighting and music which provided the perfect ensemble for the production.
I know the production is long finished, but I wish everyone all success in their futures, and if that is in the theatre or movies I look forward to seeing them in whatever role they have taken on.
- The School Edition – Miss Saigon
- Anne Hailes: Miss Saigon shows how theatre prepares youngsters for world stage
- Children of the Vietnam War – Smithsonian Magazine
- Tommy at Greenwich Theatre