Don't Miss Saigon!
I am someone who is technically too young to have seen Miss Saigon the first time around (I say technically as whilst I was only 6 when it closed in 1999, I had already seen and fallen in love with Les Mis at that point). Consequently, the news that it was returning to the West End was, quite literally, music to my ears. Being the lucky girl I am, I managed to see it very soon after it opened and it was everything I wanted it to be.
I could rave on and on about how stunning the production is, how sensational the cast are (heck, I could write an entire essay on how in love with Rachelle Ann Go I am), and how much me and the macho looking man sat next to me cried. But, I’m not going to, as we’ve already heard all that from real critics whose opinion you probably value way more than my own. Instead, I’m going to talk about the day seats. Why? Because when I have sung the praises of this show I often receive the following response: “Oh well I’d love to go but I just can’t afford it / can’t get a ticket”. Well I'm here to tell you that you have options! With this beautiful thing called the day seat, and last minute tickets online, that isn’t necessarily true.
My friend and I decided to attempt getting day seats on Thursday 18th September. This attempt was successful. The Miss Saigon day seats deal is that a ‘limited number’ are released for each performance, which can be bought at the box office from 10am for a reduced rate. The small print is pretty much that you can only buy two per person, and you must have photo ID with you. Simple. The main obstacle that still prevents people from doing this is the uncertainty of it all. It does not guarantee you a ticket, and there is no way I can promise you that you will get one.
The one other cause for day seat scepticism is the quality of seats. People assume they are cheap because the seats suck, and what is the point in seeing even the best show if you are sat behind a pillar or straining your neck on the front row? This may be the case for some theatres, I don’t know, but it is certainly not the case for Miss Saigon. Having also been to the 25th Anniversary Gala performance (which was amazing, FYI), I have seen the show 3 times in total, and each time has been from a different tier (Dress Circle, Stalls, and then Grand Circle). Consequently I have a pretty decent idea about the different experiences you get from the different seats. The front row of the stalls (the day seats) is by far my favourite place to sit. Whilst the Dress Circle may have served better for appreciating the big chorus numbers like The Heat is on in Saigon and Morning of the Dragon, nothing can compare to the intensity of being so close to the stage. You are right there in front of the actors. You can see the tears in their eyes. You could see Kim’s face distort when Ellen reveals who she is. You could see how ridiculously cute the little child playing Tam was. Miss Saigon is an emotional piece of theatre, and from the front row of the stalls you really feel it, and it breaks your heart, but in such a beautiful way. It is also worth noting that the infamous helicopter scene is also best viewed from close up, as the sound and lighting effects of it are much more effective. You can also feel the wind from the ‘propellers’, which makes you feel right at the centre of the scene. When it came to the helicopter, from the circle I was impressed, from the stalls I was blown away, and that’s only a little bit hypothetical.
Another option is to look on London Theatre Direct's section for last minute theatre tickets, where you can find last minute deals on many of the major shows, including Miss Saigon. Tickets are available in the last minute section for as soon as the next day!
So anyway, my point is you don’t necessarily have to accept that Miss Saigon tickets are too far out of your grasp. As long as you have a free morning in London, it is completely doable. The same applies to all the shows. Even if they don’t have official day seats policies go and ask the box office, because if you don’t ask you don’t get. I promise it has worked very well for me in the past. So get out there and get searching, see the shows you want to see, and most importantly DON’T MISS SAIGON!! … It really is that good.
By Lucy Bradford