The King and I

Date 18th February 2016
Society Walberton Players
Venue Walberton Village Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Emily Dadson
Musical Director Richard Barnes
Choreographer Emma Wynter & Emily Dadson

Report

Author: Jose Harrison

How appropriately timed this production is, when immigration has become such a major concern in the country. This musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein highlights the difficulties and misunderstandings that can occur when people from different parts of the world come to live together and how their cultural backgrounds can lead to disagreements and disputes that are often aggravated by the absence of a common language. None the less, it has been described as a celebration of love in all its guises.

Sensitively and very cleverly directed, this show contains a wonderful selection of superbly crafted songs which were competently delivered with great accompaniment on a piano. I must admit that I felt a key board would have added some extra harmony and helped the performers, giving more body to the wonderful music.

The colourful costumes were outstanding and the innovative choreography that had a strong oriental influence was expertly performed, especially the ballet sequence. The acting and dancing was great fun to watch and Louis, Prince Chulalongkorn, the young Princes and Princesses well deserved the recognition they received from the approving audience for their contribution.

Mark Barnes (as the King) and Justine Potter (as Anna) provided exceptionally strong leads. Mark was every inch the king in every aspect.  He is a very powerful presence on stage and really made this part his own. Justine also showed her excellent acting skills standing up for her rights as well as showing her caring side. One felt the connection between these two, which is so important in this particular musical.

The star crossed  lover Georgie Mullen (as Tuptim) was very convincing with an outstanding rendition of ‘My Lord and Master’. She was well supported by Max Stuttard  (as Lun Tha), both giving believable performances. I thought Jeanette Fido’s (Lady Thiang) rendition of “Something Wonderful” was exceptionally moving and her whole demeanour was so correct, as was Jason Evans as The Kralahome. Everyone else did well, the scene changes were slick, the props looked good, the set very cleverly built and the chorus singing a pleasure to hear.

Congratulations on delivering such a fine team effort! This was a most enjoyable performance throughout and the appreciation of the audience was obvious at the final curtain.