I had always heard the title of this popular musical stage show, based on the 1904 opera Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini. I had no idea what the story was about and whether or not I knew any of the songs from the show, but I was really up for giving it a go. Basically, the story starts in 1975, at "Dreamland," a Saigon bar and brothel, shortly before the end of the Vietnam War. Seventeen-year-old peasant girl Kim (Eva Noblezada) is a new bargirl with no experience. The U. S. Marines, aware that they will soon be leaving Vietnam, party with the Vietnamese sex workers. Chris Scott (Alistair Brammer),a sergeant, has no interest in getting with a girl, despite encouragement from his friend John Thomas (Hugh Maynard). The girls compete for the title of "Miss Saigon", with Gigi Van Tranh (Rachelle Ann Go) winning the crown. But many of the showgirls dream of a better life. Scott is transfixed by Kim, who is reluctant and shy. John buys a room for Chris and her from the Engineer (Jon Jon Briones),a French-Vietnamese hustler and the owner of the club. Chris tries to pay her to leave the nightclub. The Engineer interferes, thinking he is not interested in Kim, so Chris allows himself to be led to her room. Chris, watching Kim sleep, asks God why he met her just as he was about to leave Vietnam. When Kim wakes up, Chris is sympathetic towards Kim, who tells him she is an orphan and that she was a virgin before sleeping with him. Chris offers to take her to America with him and the two of them fall in love. Chris tells John that he is taking leave to be with Kim. John warns him that the Viet Cong will soon take Saigon, but he reluctantly agrees to cover for Chris. Chris meets with the Engineer to trade for Kim, eventually resorting to threatening him at gunpoint to get his way. The bargirls hold a "wedding ceremony" for Chris and Kim, with Gigi toasting Kim as the "real" Miss Saigon. Thuy (Kwang-Ho Hong),Kim's cousin, whom she was betrothed to marry, is an officer in the North Vietnamese Army. He arrives and is disgusted she is with a white man. The two men confront each other, drawing their guns. Kim tells Thuy that their arranged marriage is now nullified because her parents are dead, and she no longer has feelings for him. Thuy curses them all and storms out. Chris promises to take Kim with him when he leaves Vietnam. Three years later, in 1978, a parade is taking place celebrating the reunification of Vietnam and the defeat of the Americans. Thuy, now a commissar in the new Communist government, orders his soldiers to search for the Engineer, in order to find and bring back Kim. Kim and Chris have become separated in the three years. Kim has been hiding in an impoverished area, still in love with Chris, believing he will return to Vietnam and rescue her. Meanwhile, Chris is married to an American wife, Ellen (Tamsin Carroll). Ellen and Kim both swear their devotion to Chris from opposite ends of the world. A week later, Thuy's soldiers find the Engineer, who has been working in the rice fields as part of a re-education program. The Engineer takes Thuy to where Kim has been hiding. Kim refuses Thuy's renewed offer of marriage. Furious, Thuy calls his soldiers in and they begin tying up Kim and the Engineer, threatening to put them into a re-education camp. Kim introduces him to Tam (William Dao),her three-year-old son from Chris. Thuy calls Kim a traitor and Tam an enemy, and tries to kill Tam with a knife, but Kim shoots Thuy dead. She flees with Tam and tells the Engineer what she has done. But he refuses to help her until he learns that Tam's father is American; he sees the boy as his chance to emigrate to the United States. The three set out on a ship with other refugees to Bangkok. In Atlanta, Georgia, John now works for an aid organisation. John tells Chris that Kim is still alive, which Chris is relieved to hear after all this time. He also tells Chris about Tam and urges Chris to go to Bangkok with Ellen, who he finally tells about Kim and his son. Chris, Ellen, and John arrive in search of Kim at a sleazy club, where the Engineer is also around. John finds Kim dancing at the club and tells her that Chris is also in Bangkok. He then tries to tell her that Chris is remarried, but Kim interrupts. Kim tells Tam about his father, as she believes he is to go to American with him. Seeing Kim happy, John cannot bring himself to break the news to her but promises to bring Chris to her. The Engineer tells Kim to find Chris herself, because he doubts that Chris will come. Kim is haunted by the ghost of Thuy, who taunts Kim. She has a flashback to 1975, when the Viet Cong were approaching Saigon, and the city is thrown into increasing chaos. Orders are received from Washington for an immediate evacuation of the remaining Americans. Chris calls to Kim and is about to go into the crowd to look for her. John was forced to punch Chris in the face to stop him from leaving. Chris is put into the last helicopter leaving Saigon. Back in 1978 Bangkok, Kim joyfully dresses in her wedding clothes and leaves the Engineer to watch Tam while she is gone. She goes to Chris's hotel room, where she finds Ellen, who reveals he is Chris's wife. Kim is heartbroken and refuses to believe her. Ellen asks Kim if Chris is the father of Tam, and Kim confirms that he is. Kim does not want her son to continue leaving on the streets and pleads for Ellen and Chris to take her son to live with them in America. But Ellen refuses, saying that Tam needs his real mother, and that she wants her own children with Chris. Kim angrily demands that Chris tell her these things in person and leaves. Ellen feels bad for Kim but is determined to keep Chris. Chris and John return, and Ellen tells them both that Kim arrived and that she had to tell Kim everything. Chris and John blame themselves, and Ellen also tells them that Kim tried to give away her son to them. Ellen issues an ultimatum to Chris: Kim or her. Chris reassures Ellen, and they pledge their love for each other. Chris and Ellen agree to leave Tam and Kim in Bangkok but offer them support payments from America. Back at the club, Kim lies to the Engineer that they are still going to America. The Engineer imagines the extravagant new life that he will lead in America. Chris, John, and Ellen find the Engineer and he takes them to see Kim and Tam. In her room, Kim tells Tam that he should be happy because he now has a father. She tells him that she cannot go with him but will be watching over him. Chris, Ellen, John, and the Engineer arrive. The Engineer comes in to take Tam outside to introduce Tam to his father. While this is happening, Kim is behind a curtain and shoots herself. As she falls to the floor, Chris rushes into the room at the sound of the gunshot and finds Kim mortally wounded. He picks up Kim and asks what she has done. She asks him to hold her once more and dies in his arms as he cries her name. Following the end of the show, the cast of the original 1989 production come onstage: Jonathan Pryce, Lea Salonga, Simon Bowman, and Mariano Venida, and there are speeches from the original producers and creators of the show. Most of the songs are belters, especially "The Heat Is on in Saigon", "Sun and Moon", "Why God Why", " I Still Believe", "Now That I've Seen Her", "What a Waste" and "The American Dream", and the performances and singing voices of Noblezada, Brammer, Maynard and Briones are terrific. It is an emotional story, the colour and costume design are marvellous, you almost forget the length of the show, and the finale featuring performances from the original stars, especially Pryce, is a highlight. This is a wonderful celebration of a splendid stage show and made me consider seeing it live in a theatre, a marvellous musical drama show. Very good!