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.
Pictured (at top) Larissa Maestro, Danny Tran and Michael Holder; (at bottom) Michael Holder and Larissa Maestro/photographed by Heavenly Perspective Photography