February 21st – March 3rd
Music and Lyrics: Rogers and Hammerstein,
Book: Oscar Hammerstein and Joshua Logan
Producer: Rupert Gavin
Director: Bartlett Sher
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Great songs, and a vivid and unenergetic performance by all concerned make this latest production of the great Broadway show an entertaining and, at times, thrilling night’s entertainment.
South Pacific is a sweeping romantic tale of love and prejudice set in the eastern tropics in World War II, and its portrayal of Americans stationed in a foreign land in wartime is as pertinent today as when it first delighted audiences back in the 50s.
From the moment the opening music washes over you, you are hooked; and the orchestra, conducted by Jae Alexander, is thrilling throughout. Jam-packed with great songs: Some Enchanted Evening, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, Happy Talk, to name but a few, the story bounces along with verve, poignancy, and humour. The set pieces are a joy, particularly those involving the Seabees (sailors), whose opening number, There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame, is exhilarating. So good in fact that, if anything, those set pieces involving their female counterparts, the nurses, seemed a little under choreographed in comparison.
Samantha Womack is charismatic and colourful as Ensign Nellie Flatbush, although her singing does vary in quality according to the song. Vocal plaudits in the main go Mathew Cammelle, as Emile de Becque, a resounding baritone, and Daniel Koek as Lieutenant Cable, who also gave the strongest dramatic performance.
Alex Ferns is sturdy and energetic as the artful Seabee, Luther Billis and, along with Loretta Ables Sayre’s humours portrayal as Boody Mary, provides most of the comedy in the show; while Nigel Williams as Captain Brackett, provides the right amount of gravitas as the man in authority.
Although the First Act did seem a little long at over one and a half hours (not helped by a fault with the sound, which temporally halt the show. Now fixed) the show is a wonderful night’s entertainment, and I’m sure will delight audiences up and down the country.
Bio: Author of Theatre productions, I’m Spartacus! and The Salon; Radio comedy, Last Train to Yuma; and co-author numerous short films, including Little Man. Also former sketch writer for Hale and Pace TV show.