The reviews are coming in for The King & I, which is playing this week at the Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne. Tickets are still available, so why not come along?
“I was a little disconcerted when the curtain went up on this show on the first night to find that the top I was wearing appeared to have been cut out from some hidden piece of the backcloth. Seriously though, it did feel a bit strange to look at the backcloth, then at my top, and realise how similar they were with their flowers and palms – and I didn’t even buy it in Bangkok!
Anyway, I digress. What an absolutely superb show this proved to be, in every way. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s glorious score definitely comes into the ‘every one’s a winner’ category, and musical director Lee Redwood ensures that it is heard to its best advantage thanks to a first-rate band and really good singing from principals and chorus alike. There are great lighting effects too, the sound is well balanced and costumes are gorgeous.
Director Roy Joseph and choreographer Suzi De Villiers have kept their staging traditional, simple and effective, and it is perhaps a measure of the show’s success that I, who have seen The King and I countless times over the years, was close to tears during the final scene, so drawn into the story had I become, and you could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium.
That, of course, was very much due to the outstanding principal line-up, in particular the excellent Philip Redgrave as the King. As always with Phil, he really gets to the core of his character and makes him utterly believable, and there is a tremendous chemistry between him and Sharron Pearcy, who is a wonderfully feisty Anna. Heather Pretlove is simply stunning as the King’s senior wife, Lady Thiang, and all three score incredibly highly in the acting and singing stakes.
Smaller roles are well filled too: Phil Evans is a menacing Kralahome, Sally Ager a very appealing Tuptim and Lee Neal just right as her lover, Lun Tha. Oliver Plummer is beautifully smiley as Anna’s son, Louis, and Samuel Shipp extremely regal as Prince Chulalongkorn, while there’s a lovely cameo from John Bounds as Sir Edward Ramsey.
There’s good chorus work as well. The ‘Siamese Children’ are a delight, and I especially liked the Small House of Uncle Thomas ballet. Congratulations too to those in the chorus who are singing during that number – I’ve been in the show and I know how difficult that piece is, but it sounded super.
It may be a long way to Siam, or Thailand as it is better known these days, but there’s a little piece of it just down the road in Wimborne this week, and it’s well worth a visit.”
Review kindly reproduced from SceneOne.