Alistair Brammer, Broadway, Cameron Mackintosh, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Eponine, Eva Noblezada, Hugh Maynard, J. Mark McVey, Jean Valjean, Kwang-Ho Hong, Les Miserables, Marius, Megamusical, Miss Saigon, musical, Peter Lockyer, Rachelle Ann Go, Ramin Karimloo, Revival, Rob Houchen, theatre, West End
London’s West End provides some of the greatest theatre in the world, and Cameron Mackintosh knows the way to my heart since he is the producer behind my top two shows in London’s West End at the moment: Miss Saigon and Les Miserables. I was particularly eager for my latest London holiday because I would finally be seeing Miss Saigon in London!
Miss Saigon did not disappoint. Eva Noblezada was the perfect choice for Kim. She’s young and ferociously talented. Her performance brought me to tears throughout the entire show.
Meanwhile, I had a gut feeling that Cameron Mackintosh would cast a past Marius (in Les Miserables) as Chris, and his choice could not have been better. I saw Alistair Brammer in Les Miserables and War Horse previously, and while those performances were wonderful, his performance as Chris takes his career to the next level. His voice sounds stunning during “Why God Why”.
Then, there’s Hugh Maynard, who takes the powerful Act 2 opener, “Bui Doi” to new heights. His beautiful voice ensures this song will be a hit with the audience at every show. I cannot wait to gets my hands on the new album and listen to this song repeatedly.
The rest of the cast was well selected too. Rachelle Ann Go gives a standout performance as Gigi, as does Kwang-Ho Hong as Thuy. The entire ensemble helps the harsh circumstances at the end of the Vietnam War hit home during “Kim’s Nightmare”, my favorite part of the show.
Beyond the cast, Miss Saigon boasts an elaborate set, a grand orchestra, intense lighting and sound effects, and an epic score. The story is so momentous that it’s no surprise this musical attracts tourists from all over the world. I will definitely be back the next time I’m in London.
Another performance I loved in London? Les Miserables. I’ve the seen the show over 70 times, and the West End performances hold a special place in my heart. The current Jean Valjean, Peter Lockyer, performed in the US tour recently as well, so after catching two shows in London, I’ve seen him 19 times in the role. His performance is one of the best I’ve seen. Notably, Jean Valjeans who have returned to the role after involvement in previous or other productions seem to bring a deeper understanding to the character. Other top Jean Valjean performances I’ve seen include Les Mis veterans J. Mark McVey and Ramin Karimloo, who is currently starring in the role on Broadway. I love seeing debuts in Les Miserables in the West End, and the current cast features many West End debuts. Rob Houchen, the Marius in the current West End cast is superb, and I love Carrie Hope Fletcher’s Eponine (she made her adult performance debut in Les Miserables after starring in several productions when she was younger).
Moreover, the crowds adore Les Mis in London, and the show continually sells out despite almost 30 years on the West End. Amazing! There’s noting like listening to “Do You Hear the People Sing?” in the magnificent Queen’s Theatre to make your day a little more magical. If you’ve never seen Les Mis in the West End, you’re missing out on an incredible performance.