THE KING AND I

Date 23rd March 2012
Society Londonderry Musical Society
Venue Millennium Forum, Londonderry
Director Deigh Reid
Musical Director Jim Goodman
Choreographer Vanessa Chapman

Report

Author: Sheelagh Hobart

The Forum’s large stage and effective Lighting displayed a sumptuous set and rich costumes to their best. Sound was also good. Reid’s direction was fluid and Vanessa’s choreography lovely – especially in “The Small House of Uncle Thomas”. Her troupe of very talented young dancer/gymnasts made the Ballet a highlight. Goodman’s 11-piece orchestra was well controlled, never overshadowing voices on stage.

Anna’s young son Louis was played by Mark Gallagher with clear and precise diction. Captain Orton (David Thomas) and The Kralahome (Geoff Coke) added authenticity, as did the very English Sir Edward Ramsey (Michael Poole). Rionach McGlinchey and James Kelly made a convincing couple as Tuptim and Lun Tha, with beautiful vocals. The Royal children were delightful and each one with dialogue spoke up beautifully. Prince Chululongkorn (Jordan Henry) was played with the vanity befitting his position. Patricia O’Donnell was a gentle and dignified Lady Thiang – she sang “Something Wonderful” with great feeling. All smaller roles were authentically played and singing was very good.

David Keown showed an authoritative and stubborn but attractive personality as King. Susan Keown took to the role of Anna like a duck to water and made the role her own. Her changing relationship with the King was very believable. Her shock and rage at the king’s treatment of Tuptim was palpable as was her grief at his deathbed. Her singing was beautiful and the obvious mutual relationship with the children added greatly to their interaction. Very well-rounded performances from both principals.