Theatre: Miss Saigon

I finally saw this . . . I went in only knowing, er, Saigon, I guess? And that there was a helicopter. So I didn't really have any preconceived notions or expectations. And . . .

I didn't enjoy it at all.

It was bombastic and melodramatic. I could tell it had been written by the guys who did Les Mis (which I've only ever seen the film of). There was just . . . so much wrong with it, I can't even.

Okay, okay, I get that this play is nearly 30 years old. So sensibilities have changed. Even so, gah. The songs weren't catchy, and they repeated the same handful of information over and over again. The Engineer would sing about girls/whores and wanting to go to America. Kim would sing about being in love with Chris, and then about missing Chris and still being in love with Chris. Chris got to sing about being in love with Kim a few times, but then he was relegated to wallpaper status. We were told he tried to find Kim, but we don't see it. We never see his struggles except, like, one nightmare maybe? I couldn't tell if he was supposed to be a sympathetic character or not. I suspect not given that two French guys wrote this about America taking over Vietnam after they had it.

I cringed my way through most of the show. The actors we saw were amazing and had great voices. The dancers were terrific. But the show is just . . . It's not good. I kept wondering what my uncle who served in 'Nam would have made of it. While I understand they do (kind of?) show the horrors of war, the writers also romanticize it quite a bit. If most of the songs had not been about love and longing, and if they'd shown more of Chris' PTSD or his frantic attempts to go back to Vietnam/Kim only to be told he couldn't, maybe it would have been better? Who can say? I don't think those changes would have made it any worse anyway.

Ugh. I'm sure a lot of people love this musical. But let's face it, "You're sunlight and I'm moonlight" is super cliché. Like, were the writers even trying? Or did they look at each other after the success of Les Mis and say, "Let's expand on the prostitute character and just pick a different setting"? That's what it felt like to me. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes through a lot of it.

Oh! And the thing where she kills her betrothed? That really went a whole lotta nowhere. There's a plot thread that someone dropped for sure. I guess they felt we needed more songs about her loving Chris and loving her son and stuff.

Sigh. Just . . . not a fan. Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe I'm cold hearted. I dunno. But this show did nothing but irritate me.

No comments: