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It's Puccini's 'Madam Butterfly' updated to the Vietnam War - and just as heartbreaking. From the creators of 'Les Miserables', 'Miss Saigon' has just opened in a spectacular new production in London's West End from Cameron Mackintosh.
It's April 1975 in 'Dreamland', a sleazy club in Vietnam owned by The Engineer. It's the first night for orphaned teenager Kim whose naivete is mocked by the other girls. The U.S. Marines, aware that they will be leaving Vietnam soon, party with the Vietnamese prostitutes at the club.
The girls compete for the title of 'Miss Saigon' and the winner is raffled to a Marine. Gigi Van Tranh wins the crown for the evening and begs the marine who won the raffle to take her back to America, annoying him. The girls reflect on their dreams of a better life. Rachelle Ann Go plays Gigi. Photo: Michael Le Poer Trench/Cameron Mackintosh.
Kim's innocence strikes Chris Scott, a sergeant disenchanted by the club scene. Kim is shy but dances with Chris. Touched to learn that she is an orphan, he tells her that she need not sell herself at the club, because he wants her to stay with him. Eva Noblezada is Kim and Alistair Brammer plays Chris. Photo: Michael Le Poer Trench/Cameron Mackintosh.
The girls give Chris and Kim a traditional 'wedding ceremony' but their celebration is interrupted by Thuy, Kim's cousin - an officer in the North Vietnamese army - to whom she was betrothed at 13. He curses them all. Pictured are Eva Noblezada as Kim and Alistair Brammer as Chris. Photo: Michael Le Poer Trench/Cameron Mackintosh.
Chris returns to America during the fall of Saigon. Three years later, waiting for Chris to return, Kim refuses Thuy's renewed offer of marriage and introduces him to Tam, her son with Chris. Eva Noblezada is pictured with William Tao as Tam in the 2014 London production. Photo: Michael Le Poer Trench/Cameron Mackintosh.
Thuy calls Kim a traitor and tries to kill Tam with a knife, but Kim pulls out Chris's gun and kills Thuy. Eva Noblezada is playing Kim and Kwang Ho Hong is Thuy in the 2014 London production. Photo: Matthew Murphy/Cameron Mackintosh.
Chris returns to Bangkok with his American wife, Ellen. Misunderstanding the situation, Kim believes that she and Tam are going to America with Chris. Kim is haunted by the ghost of Thuy, who taunts her, claiming that Chris will betray her as he did the night Saigon fell. Kim suffers a horrible flashback to that night when Chris left in the last helicopter to leave Saigon. Photograph by Michael Le Poer Trench/Cameron Mackintosh.
Kim meets Ellen and, realising who she is, says that she does not want her son to live on the streets. Ellen promises Kim they will do what they can to support Tam. Kim pleads to Ellen that they take Tam with them to America, but Ellen refuses, saying that Tam needs his real mother. Eva Noblezada as Kim with William Tao as Tam. Photograph by Matthew Murphy/Cameron Mackintosh
Back at the club, Kim lies to the Engineer that they are all going to America. He imagines the extravagant new life that he will lead there. The Engineer takes Chris and Ellen to see Kim and Tam. As The Engineer introduces Tam to his father, they hear a gun shot. Kim has killed herself. Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer. Photo: Matthew Murphy/Cameron Mackintosh