37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Stronger material, weaker cast,
This review is from: The Complete Recording of Boublil & Schonberg's Miss Saigon (Audio CD)
As a die-hard fan of the OCR, I was thrilled to find this full recording, since I knew many of the bridges between songs and some lyrics were deleted due to their length. With the full score and lyrics, songs like "The Morning of the Tiger" and "The American Dream" remind the listener of the visual spectacle that made each song so memorable, and the dialogue sung by Kim and Thuy in the prelude to "This is the Hour" is more haunting and sad than any duet between Kim and Chris.
Pity the souls who have had to replace Lea Salonga, whose angelic but tough performance set the standard for Kim. Joanna Ample has a lovely voice, but why on earth did she overenunciate certain syllables, and why did her "accent" come and go, to the point of distraction? Then there is the horrible male cast. Kevin Gray (Engineer) and Peter Cousens (Chris) whine and shriek their way through the songs, and Hinton Battle's (John) over-the-top but brilliant brimstone and treacle performance seemed out-of-place next to the weak vocals of Gray and Cousens. The only improvement on the new disc is Charles Azulay, who gives Thuy a more empathetic voice (and the added lyrics provide some explanation on his and Kim's past).
Overall, buy the OCR for the performances, but get this as a companion piece for the full score and added lyrics, to get the full feel for the Miss Saigon experience.