Miss Saigon Final Week Interview
by Catherine Blanch

Cameron Mackintosh in association with GWB Entertainment has brought Boublil & Schönberg’s (the creators or Les Misérables) multi-award-winning musical Miss Saigon. In a re-imagining of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, two young people from opposite worlds find love amid the horrors of the Vietnam War but are sadly torn apart.

Showcasing the best of Australian talent, this cast is led by the vivacious Seann Miley Moore as the audacious Engineer, Abigail Adriano plays the beautiful young Vietnamese woman Kim who is orphaned by war and forced to survive by working in the Engineer’s sleezy night clubs. It’s there that she meets and falls in love with a gentle young American G.I. Chris – performed by Nigel Huckle alongside Kerrie Anne Greenland as Ellen, Laurence Mossman as Thuy, and Kimberley Hodgson as Gigi. When our young lovers are torn apart at the fall of Saigon, Chris has no idea that he has fathered a son and so begins Kim’s epic journey of survival to reunite with her husband.

With this stunning five-star production in its final days in Adelaide before taking Miss Saigon to Asia, we speak with Seann Miley Moore is thriving his role at the Engineer.

Miss Saigon and Seann Miley Moore are a match made in heaven. I’m so happy to be up there giving you Asian Excellence, Queer Excellence, and some big SLAY-SIAN energy!”

The Opening Night performance of Miss Saigon saw barely a dry eye in the theatre. A woman was heard to exclaim “oh no!” once she realised the tragedy unfolding before our eyes. It left some asking why the victims in operas and theatrical tragedies are so often young women? Surely this young woman deserves her own happy ending.

“But that’s the thing, she’s not a victim but a fierce woman and a fierce mother trying to survive, “Seann says. “These stories are so real – even today. We are living in a world of war; look at everything that’s coming out of Gaza. And it’s real, you know? But people are surviving and doing everything they can, just like what Kim does for her son.

“As with all these women who are in a similar position, we wanted to present this like we are the ones in charge. Obviously, my character exploits this, but he always says to the girls ‘we are in charge’ of these fuckers who came and created this war.

Miss Saigon is a hard story,” he says. “You can see it as a victim story, but I remember seeing this show as a young kid in Hong Kong, and they were all fierce, unapologetic women – and people know Asian women are not victims. They are in charge. Look at my Mum, look at our friends. I channel all of them on the stage, and it’s a testament to that big Slay-sian energy that we all have.”

Some of the realities hit hard, like the historical footage of ‘half-blood’ children fathered by American soldiers living in camps. It was so real, yet surreal for most people because that’s a life they never experienced.

“I mean, that’s why it hits you,” Seann says. “It’s very parallel to what’s happening in the world now, a world of war, so it’s very confronting and its life or death. When you’re in these positions, there’s nothing else to it, it’s just survival, your strength and courage to get you through.

How different is Cameron MacIntosh’s production of Miss Saigon, compared to original performances?

“The Engineer is queer, so that’s different,” he says. “I looked at Asian Pimps and Asian sellers, and they were always these floozy asexual seedy older men, but I’m like ‘No, I’m gonna give you white pussy cat tiger because I’m on the menu too!’ The Engineer is a showman; a pimp surviving and living his life is sex clubs. He is obsessed with America; 1969 is the queer revolution that’s where his ‘people’ are, where his queer family is. But under a Communist regime, you can’t be who you are.

That touching dynamic between the two young lovers, Kim and Chris, is so sweet because in the midst of this horrible war and the struggles that people have to survive, there’s this absolute pure love that comes out… it’s like the flower that grows from a crack in the footbath: it’s that ultimate beauty in the middle of darkness.

With an unforgettable score, featuring classic hits like The Heat Is On, The Movie In My Mind, The Last Night Of The World and The American Dream, Miss Saigon promises to take audiences on an emotional journey like no other. The staging, scenery, lighting and sound all work symbiotically to create something horrifying, realistic, truly brutal and heartbreakingly beautiful.

Having reached the final week of their limited season in Adelaide, what would you like to say to anyone who may have not yet experienced this spectacular performance?

“It has taken 15 years for this show to return to the stage,” Seann says. “Do you really want to wait another 15 years to see it? This production of Miss Saigon is nothing that you’ve ever see before. It is an intense rollercoaster of a musical; it’s moving, it’s epic, it’s grand, it’s rich. These are real stories, and that’s what we need in theatres!

Miss Saigon is the original epic blockbuster musical,” he concludes. “It’s been around for 30 years and its grand and vocal and expensive and we want everyone to see it.”

Miss Saigon continues at Adelaide Festival Theatre, at various times, until Sat 3 Feb.
Bookings at Ticketek. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.

The Clothesline logo

Print Friendly, PDF & Email