Burnley-based theatre school takes flight

Lancashire Telegraph: The Vietnamese fight for their escape as the helicopter lands. The Vietnamese fight for their escape as the helicopter lands.

YOUNG stage stars are taking flight in a West End blockbuster musical this week.

Basics Junior Theatre School’s senior company are tackling the musical masterpiece Miss Saigon at Pendle Hippodrome in Colne until Saturday.

Miss Saigon hit the headlines earlier this year, when the announcement of its return to London’s West End next year promoted multi-million pound record-breaking pre-sales.

Burnley-based Basics are even recreating one of the musical’s most famous – and technically challenging – scenes when a helicopter flies on to the stage to evacuate Americans from the embassy.

Their production of Miss Saigon: School Edition is the last staging of the musical in the country this year – ahead of its professional return.

Director Richard Sanderson said: “Miss Saigon is without doubt the toughest musical that Basics have tackled in the last 10 years.

“The last 12 months, since 42nd Street, have gone by very quickly mainly because we have all been hard at work in weekly rehearsals in preparation for staging this great show.”

The musical, penned by the duo behind Les Miserables Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, is based on the opera Madame Butterfly, with the action taking place in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok during and after the Vietnam War.

An orphan of the Vietnam War, Kim becomes a bar girl to pay her way and on her first night, meets and falls in love with American GI Chris.

He returns home, and although broken by his war experience he finds love. Three years on, his comrade John tells him Kim is alive – and she has a son.

The cast features Georgia Salkeld – in her 11th year with Basics – and Jack Herbert as Kim and Chris, Jake Simpson as fellow GI John, Jess Balderstone as Chris’s wife Ellen and Brandon Incles as Engineer.

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