Lifestyle, Thoughts & Life Updates

Musicals, Goosebumps and Tears: Week in Review

 

The week before last, I learnt from my flatmate that a week technically starts on a Sunday, and that Mondays are only the start of the work week. So I started last week in one of the best ways: with coffee, fried eggs and plans that actually involved leaving the flat.

I had originally only booked tickets to see one, but ended up seeing two musicals this week – Miss Saigon and Ghost – both of which I really enjoyed, and would absolutely recommend if you ever fancy a bit of a change in your evening or weekend plans. I wanted to share the experience and so have written a little review on each below.

Before I carry on, I would like to add that I am not a big theatre-goer – although this is not due to a lack of enthusiasm, but more to do with the complete lack of decent in Cornwall, and the fact that a lot of companies cut us off. I absolutely love Les Mis, but I’ve never seen it on the stage (side note: my parents recently went to London to see it. Without me.), and the majority of musicals I have gone to see before have all been fairly upbeat and feel-good, so I was looking forward to a bit of a new experience. And what an experience it all was… 

 

Miss Saigon, 25th Anniversary Performance: Sunday afternoon

Miss Saigon was one of those musical titles I recognised, but didn’t know the plot of (along with the other classics The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and Wicked). So I was completely in the dark as to what to expect, besides that I had been told it was set in the Vietnam War, and also that I should take a packet (or two!) of tissues with me! I did, however, have high hopes stemming from the fact that it was written by the same people who turned Les Mis into a musical, and that it is my highly-musical-y-experienced flatmates favourite musical ever.

The show we saw was the 25th Anniversary Performance, recorded from the London’s West End so whilst we were watching it from the cinema, it felt as if we were actually in the theatre. So much so, that it felt strange not to clap at the end of each scene (along with the audience), and not to be able to buy a little tub of ice-cream in the interval.

As for the show itself, this may sound like a rather obvious thing to say, but the music was absolutely incredible. That kind of goosebumps-up-my-arms, tears-in-my-eyes incredible. The music was what captured me first, and from the opening scene it swept me along – the interweaving of songs, the amazing voices – with the rollercoaster of the plot, up and down with the love story and the struggles of each character in such a time of turmoil. I think that’s part of the reason why my reactions to musicals are usually a lot stronger than those to films: music creates a much more expressive medium for emotion, and makes you feel that much closer to the story and the characters.

As it was the Anniversary Performance, after the encore and bowing, the original cast joined the current performers on stage to sing some of the main songs again, which was very special (and emotional) to see. It was also interesting to see how the characters were portrayed by each cast, as well as how the casting had changed – with the original being much less culturally-appropriate for the characters.

Miss Saigon is such a powerful and moving story, and will have you laughing, crying and falling in love all at the same time. I do not want to give too much away and spoil anything for anyone, so will not explain the plot of the story, other than to leave you the link to the website here, which will also tell you more about the touring of the show: http://www.miss-saigon.com/ which begins next July!

I will definitely be trying to book tickets, and I would strongly encourage you to as well, if you get the chance – although I imagine they will sell out pretty fast! I am not ashamed to say I have already pre-ordered the DVD (this exact version of the show is being released next week), but am for now satisfying my cravings by listening to the soundtrack on Spotify. The more I listen to the music, the more I fall in love with it all and I wonder why I hadn’t watched it sooner. As well, I think now that I know the story, the second time of watching I will enjoy it even more.

Although for me, it was never going to beat Les Mis, without a doubt I can say Miss Saigon it takes a close second place in my list of personal favourites, closely followed by Billy Elliot the Musical which I saw earlier this year, and then The Lion King.

 

Ghost the Musical: Thursday evening

 

This was a rather last minute trip to the theatre, which is probably a sentence which hasn’t been said all that many times before, and especially not by a couple of uni students. It was a relaxing Tuesday night; a few of us in the flat were talking about musicals we’d seen, and ones we wanted to and ended up on Cardiff’s New Theatre website. It was brilliant – we stumbled across the last few tickets available for Ghost and within five minutes had booked them.

I’m not really a big movie person, and so my flatmates were all shocked to find out I’d never seen the film version of Ghost, and so again off I went to see a musical I didn’t know the plot of. I love the excitement of going to the theatre, and although our seats were in the upper circle, so the safety rail slightly obscured part of the stage, we had a fabulous view of the theatre itself. And as I always think, going to these sorts of places is just as much about the atmosphere than anything else.

It is safe to say, my lack of knowledge of the plot again led to crying, and a lot of it. But there was also a lot of laughter. There was a strong mix of both emotions, and it was really lovely to see how the two worked together, neither taking away from the other, but instead creating the story simultaneously.

It was no Miss Saigon; I’ll tell you that. And maybe due to the proximity of the showings I was still overwhelmed and comparing between the two. But, for the most part, the casting was brilliant, as was the choreography of both the songs and dances. All-in-all, it was a good show to go and see, and certainly proved a nice change in distraction from the stress of uni prep and coursework.

 

I’ve come out of the week feeling rather cultured and sophisticated, but more than anything, much more interested in the musical theatre scene, and will definitely be keeping an eye out for which shows are doing the rounds and coming near Cardiff in the new year.

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