Thousands disappointed as Miss Saigon fails to show

ALMOST 3,000 people were left angry and disappointed when a weekend production of the musical Miss Saigon was cancelled just before the show was about to start.

The Saturday matinee performance was called off after the technical crew discovered a cable for raising and lowering a dozen scene backdrops, including the huge hotel scene, had snapped.

A group of 32 friends from Cork were among those who had travelled to Dublin for the weekend to see the show at the Point Theatre. Maura Aherne said she spent a lot of time and effort organising the tickets, the bus trip and the hotel which cost each member of the group 187.

“We brought women aged from 40 to 80, and everybody is disappointed at the way it was handled,” said Maura.

The audience were in their seats when the first announcement came that curtain-up would be delayed by 10 minutes for technical reasons. The snapped cable was discovered during the pre-show technical and safety check but as time went on the crews found the problem was more serious than they first thought.

Although an announcer went to the stage to make regular announcements to the 2,900 full house, Ms Aherne said the updates were only given over the public address.

“We enjoyed the rest of our weekend immensely but everyone was extremely angry out in the foyer after they told us it was cancelled,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Point Theatre and the production company Cameron Mackintosh Ltd said every effort would be made to accommodate individuals and groups who wanted to rebook for another performance between now and the end of the run, which began on July 11.

“We will pull out all the stops if people want to exchange their tickets rather than get a refund,” she said.

“This was a major technical difficulty and we could not let the show go ahead without resolving it. There was an announcer on the side of the stage but some members of the audience might not have been able to see him because of the theatre’s size and the lighting,” the spokeswoman said.

Saturday night’s audience at the Point were also left disappointed that they did not get to see the full production, but the cast gave a musical performance of all the songs to another capacity attendance.

Miss Saigon is the biggest production ever staged in Ireland, with a cast and crew of more than 100. The spectacular set and props include a real helicopter and an 18-foot statue for the Ho Chi Minh scenes as part of the story of a US soldier who falls in love with a Vietnamese bar girl.

The producers said they could not apologise enough that they left so many people disappointed but assured them that the show will go on. More than 250,000 people are expected to have seen Miss Saigon before the final performance on September 28.

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