Jaqui's Daily Blog

Miss Saigon and the Pizza Chef

My main problem with Miss Saigon (so says the Fearless Theatre Critic) is that the male romantic lead is such a wimp.


And, yes, before you remark that it takes one to know one - I quite agree. I have always been a wimp of the First Order. But at least I admit it.


According to the programme, which I read from cover to cover on the interminable coach journey home from London, with Mr B slumbering peacefully beside me, the character of Chris has been considerably strengthened compared with the character in Puccini's Madame Butterfly on whom it is based. Well, you could have fooled me. Maybe I am just picky about what makes a Romantic Lead? I decided I would share this with Mr B when he woke up.


On the day before our theatre trip, I telephoned the organiser to ask about eating arrangements. It's no more than you would expect from One Who Is Always Thinking About Her Stomach. I had in mind previous bowls trip outings when around about lunchtime, when Mr B, My Stomach and I were all collectively eagerly anticipating a cafe stop, everyone around us started unpacking sandwiches, crisps, blueberry muffins and flasks of hot coffee from their bags and rucksacks. I wasn't about to get caught out like that again.


When the organiser realised it was me on the other end of the line, I distinctly heard her mutter:"Oh, no!" It was a trifle worrying to think I had had such an effect on her. It turned out, however, that her involuntary exclamation at the sound of my voice was because she had jumped to the conclusion that I was ringing to say that we would have to pull out of the trip. Three people had already done so, she confided. Organising trips is a nightmare and she was very glad that this would be her swan song as the Bowls Club's Social Secretary, having handed over to another poor unfortunate.


Anyway, to cut a long story short, we boarded the coach, armed with a prawn sandwich (for Mr B) and an egg sandwich (for Boringly Predictable Me) and a couple of small bottles of freshly squeezed orange juice. Do you know, there was the juice of four and a half oranges squeezed into each small bottle. I'm glad I didn't have to do the squeezing.


The London traffic meant we arrived at the theatre with just under half an hour to spare, which was plenty long enough for a Loo Stop and the purchase of the programme which would later enliven my journey home. On the journey I kept a look out for the Son in Law's black cab, with its distinctive number plate. Watching his fellow cabbies weaving in and out of the traffic, and the sheer chaos on the streets of London, I was - and am - amazed at just how he does it. No, I didn't spot him but then I didn't really expect to.


Our seats in the front row of the Dress Circle sounded better than they were, as a couple of extra seats had been fitted in just below ours which meant that we had two heads obstructing our view. This was hardly the fault of the pair in the seats, who couldn't help sitting there any more than we could help sitting where we were - but Mr B took exception to the size of their heads. It's strange but true that in any theatre, for any show, anywhere in the country, the audience will include a very tall person with a very large head who will be found sitting right in front of Mr B. Just saying.


We last saw Miss Saigon ten years ago at the beautiful Millennium Theatre in Cardiff. Our Boy and his wife gave tickets for the show to her parents and to us as a thank you gift after their wedding. Such a kind and generous thought and one greatly appreciated by the four of us. The weather on the day of our trip was absolutely sweltering and, however much we were looking forward to the show, we were a bit worried about just how hot it would be in the theatre. We needn't have worried; the Millennium Theatre doesn't just have any old air conditioning system - it has separate air conditioning under every single seat. Never was there a more comfortable theatrical environment. That particular performance of Miss Saigon will remain our favourite - and not just because of the air conditioning...


The young star of the current production, Eva Noblezada, is just eighteen years old and this is her professional and West End debut. Now there's an encouraging thought for all you lovely young Limelighters (aka members of the Limelight Theatre Group) who read my blog - it is perfectly possible to be plucked from the obscurity of High School and end up on the West End stage. All you need is the voice of an angel and the ability to make an audience care what happens to you. Like Eva.


There was a welcome touch of theatre about the Italian restaurant where we ate afterwards with our friends Bob and Val. The chef prepared the pizzas in full view of both the diners inside and the passing crowds outside, tossing the pizza dough high in the air to stretch it into shape and ladling cooked pizzas out of the oven ready for service, all with an air of calm authority.


All I can say is it's a pity Miss Saigon didn't meet him first.

 

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Latest comments

26.10 | 14:21

Mmm, was it because there were '24 men kicking a ball' that it didn't end entirely satisfactorily???

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15.10 | 11:13

I don't remember seeing this first time round.... but thank you for sharing with me. You write beautifully, and brought a tear to my eyes. Lots of love xx

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10.10 | 21:37

Jaqui I think your grandchildren are very lucky. You have spurred me on to write a letter to Amelia who like Hazel is away from home for the first time. 💕

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03.07 | 22:43

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. xx

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