South Pacific

Date 9th May 2015
Society Battle Amateur Theatrical Society
Venue Battle Memorial Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Avril Crawford
Musical Director Lorraine Barry
Choreographer Sherrir-Ann Fido

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

~~Towards the end of WWII in the South Pacific, a detachment of military personnel are left together on an island with the only female company, a detachment of nurses. Nurse Nellie Forbush from Little Rock, falls for French older plantation owner Emile De Becque who has brought up his mixed raced children Ngana and Jerome and there lurks the danger of not only the war but prejudice. A4 colourful front cover on the programme depicted a seaplane as was a publicity postcard.  Contents easy to read and NODA had a mention. Photos of the production team and cast were edged with bamboo frames, amusing biogs, a little R & H quiz and pre publicity for the next production The Mikado.
Lorraine Barry always well disciplined, conducted and played keyboard.  There were two further keyboards, clarinet, trumpet, flute and piccolo, bass and percussion. 
Thoughtful set design and construction from Brian Grainger, David Horne and Lee Lyons,  painting taken on by Hannastina Crick and members of the cast. There was a real feel of a tropical island, using bamboo cane and palm trees. The shower construction was a masterpiece, but I didn’t feel Nellie really washed that man aright out of her hair with such a small amount of foam.  The radio control room appeared realistic, with attention to detail. Good props throughout – military equipment, grass skirts, shrunken heads etc.
Costume designer Libby Montagu and her assistants supplied the costumes, all in keeping from officers’ uniforms to attractive playsuits, denims, lais, grass skirts and coconuts! 40’s styling by Frances Horne  – even Billis with a crew cut.  Nurses however, would not have shown long hair with  uniform caps. Good styling and make up for both Tonkinsese Bloody Mary and Liat.
The sound desk disguised in camouflage using the expertise of Steve Allan and Sarah of KDK Sounds, plus general improvement within the hall itself made for better sound with noises off well cued.  Gary Crawford set colourful effects, blues and reds giving magical tropical appeal.
Film projection of American troop action during the overture certainly set the action.  Talented Avril Crawford had a wonderful musical to direct, drama of a war zone, an unlikely successful love story, a secondary love affair ending  sadly, racial undertones, the island magic and of course light hearted comedy moments, with the addition of so many super musical numbers.  Alison Campion played the bubbly principal  Ensign Nellie Forbush pairing well with Adrian Collins maintaining his very acceptable French accent as the older hero Emile De Becque, giving a very moving ‘Some Enchanted Evening’.  Alex Roberts as Lt. Cable sang a perfect rendition of the beautiful lovesong ‘Younger than Springtime’ whilst under the spell of a charming Liat played by Emily Harper.  Sun tanned Robert Dyer as Billis came into his own with hip swivelling choreography set by Sherri-Ann Fido. Both Lee Lyons as Commander Harrison and Colin Adams, Brackett suited their uniforms. Movement throughout was fluid and natural and together with rousing chorus numbers, the ensemble supported the principals and minor roles extremely well.  Judy Welsh came across with a wonderful cheekiness as Bloody Mary – brilliant laugh, real strength in character and putting over a strong Bali H’ai, with a special mention to younger members of the Welsh family, keeping up the tradition.