BWW Reviews: Street Theatre Company's MISS SAIGON IN CONCERT: Superb and Moving
Kristi Mason, who only two weeks ago was playing Babe in Lipscomb University Theatre's high-spirited revival of The Pajama Game, plays Chris' wife Ellen with lovely restraint, giving a superb acting performance through her singing. With a dramatic sense of purpose, the golden-throated Joshua Waldrep, whose character of John is an updating of Madame Butterfly's Sharpless, performs "Bui Doi"-a challenging anthem of hope and despair blended in perfect harmony for greatest effect-at the top of Act Two with a barely contained rage and ferocity underscored by honest emotion.
As The Engineer, Kenny Eiland gives a no-holds-barred performance, showing us the smarmy charm of his character with a wink and a nod while walking a fine line. The Engineer is a character unique in musical theater: He is, quite certainly, an anti-hero who though deplorable plays an important role in the creation of the conflict that is at the center of Miss Saigon. The wild-eyed abandon with which Eiland portrays The Engineer is off-putting and disquieting-and ideally nuanced.
Among the ensemble, Maia Cole is wonderful as the sexy and beautiful Gigi, while Danny Tran plays Kim's cousin Thuy (to whom she was promised by her father before his death) with a resolute earnestness made frightening by his single-minded devotion to the Communist regime.
As with other productions staged as part of Street Theatre Company's "In Concert" series-which have included Chess, Ragtime and Tommy-Miss Saigon runs for just one weekend, so you should make your reservations immediately.
- Miss Saigon. Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg. Lyrics and book by Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr. Directed by Cathy Street. Music direction by Rollie Mains. Presented by Street Theatre Company, 1933 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville. Through Sunday, November 18. For details, go to www.streettheatrecompany.org or call (615) 554-7414.