|Date||8th June 2016|
|Society||Maghull Musical Theatre Company|
|Venue||Little Theatre Southport|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Andrew Standeven|
Author: Patricia Connor
The musical “South Pacific” has music composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics from Oscar Hammerstein II, taken from a book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific and was first performed in 1949 on Broadway. South Pacific is not only a wonderful musical it also has a brave progressive strong message about racism and discrimination which provoked controversy when the show was first performed, however Rogers and Hammerstein were unapologetic and the show was an immediate hit winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950 and it has also won 10 Tony Awards overall.
Set on a Pacific Island Navy base during World War II, the excellent sound, lighting and scenery in this production made a superb platform for the cast to perform on and produced an atmosphere which made you feel that you were actually there on the island with them. Directed by Ian Culshaw, we were treated to very enjoyable evening listening to some of the best known songs in musical theatre, and watching some very talented actors and singers who produced some worthy entertaining performances. Kay Williams as Nellie Forbush has a lovely singing voice and she confidently gave a very sure central performance, demonstrating well the conflict her character was feeling when she had to choose between love and everything she had been brought up to believe. Mark Duffy as Nellie's love interest French Planter Emile de Becque produced a good French accent which he maintained well throughout the show, he had a powerful singing voice which suited the iconic songs well and had lovely use of dynamics in his songs. Emile's children were delightfully played by Leah Chaffin- Power as Ngana and Elliott Heap as Jerome. The role of a larger than life bloody Mary was entertainingly played by Jan Monkley who produced Mary’s well known comedy lines soundly, while Matt Casson was the epitome of Lieutenant Joe Cable who was also torn between love and his beliefs, and desperate to play his part in the war effort, Matt was complimented very well by Phoebe Hill as a graceful Liat, Bloody Mary’s Daughter and Cable’s lover. There was an outstanding performance from Les Gomersall as Luther Billis his facial expression during Honeybun had the audience laughing out loud, he was in character all the time he was on stage and his comic timing was spot on. Other nice performances came from Tony Adamson as Captain Brackett, and Bob Cleverley as Commander Harbison with Eric Fletcher as Stewpot, Alex Mckillop as Professor, Chloe Davis as Ensign Dinah Murphy and Natalie Metcalfe as Ensign Janet McGregor. Other supporting roles included Dan McWaters as Bob McCaffrey the radio operator Andrew Edwards as Lieutenant Buzz Adams and Andrew Wolfenden as the Shore Patrol man with June Beswick as Emile's servant Henriette. The chorus performed excellently and supported the principal cast well. There was generally very good diction clarity of words and projection meaning the plot could be followed easily by the audience. However just a couple of constructive points, the pace did seem to slow at times due to gaps in the dialogue, also American and other accents were used effectively but there were occasional slips by some members of the cast, although I am glad to say this did not seem to spoil anyone's enjoyment of the show.
Enhancing this very enjoyable entertaining production were, the orchestra led by Musical Director Andrew Standeven who all played very well, were supportive and did not overpower the performers on the stage, and Choreography by Gaynor Hale, was just right for this type of production and era and was executed very well by all the cast. Costumes were well thought out just right for the production and colourful.
Well done to Ian Culshaw and to all involved in this production including backstage and technical crew this was a very enjoyable evening's entertainment thank you for inviting us we had a lovely evening. We look forward to seeing you for your next production.