The success of this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was assured at the outset of the opening night by the performances of the principals.
Kathryn Adkins, as Ensign Nellie Forbush, could not be faulted, whether Washing That Man Right Out Of Her Hair or singing a romantic ballad, she did not put a note or a foot wrong. When joined by Nicholas Clough, a very convincing Emile de Becque, they made a dream team. It really was Some Enchanted Evening when the lead duo sang. Clough has a richly varied vocal range. Individually and together, they made beautiful music.
Also on song and acting impressively against character, Janet Wash made Bloody Mary most entertaining. Sophie Boardman and Harvey Farmer were in delightful tune, too, as Emile’s children. Michael Dunion was an amusing and energetic Luther Billis on a slickly changed set that had the requisite luscious tropical backdrop.
Musical director Geoff Osborne conducted both cast, choruses and hardworking chamber ensemble with great clarity. Director Cathy Court met most of the challenges of this large-scale production and should feel pleased with her efforts.
The music did speak louder than the second half words!
Review by Pat Rudkins
WITHAM A. O. S. - SOUTH PACIFIC
Director & Choreographer: Cathy Court, Musical Director: Geoff Osborne
Despite a rather unconvincing ‘Dites Moi’ at the start, the developing relationship between the admirably played de Becque and a slightly restrained Nellie soon focussed an audience interest that continued throughout. Bloody Mary had plenty of the down to earth ﬁre needed and was a formidable saleswoman, and mother! Nothin’ Like a Dame came over well but perhaps needed a touch more eagerness and energy. I was impressed by the military relationships displayed which had a convincing air of reality for that situation, Bracket and Harbison did well here. Billis was on fine form, and I understand that his coconut brain a rumbustious Honey Bun was the one he used when he last played Billis in... well, the last time. Cable sang the number well enough though his relationship with Liat did not really show the wonder and enthusiasm that it could have done. Nellie opened up in ‘Wonderful Guy’ and ‘Wash that Man’ and both numbers came across well. Tension was well developed in the radio shack scenes, as it was by de Becque and Nellie around the colour issue. This was really well done.
The scenery was good though it was a bit disappointing that the same backcloth served both the View across the sea to Bali Hai and also from the beach at Bali Hai. Orchestral accompaniment was ﬁne except for the occasional overloud underscore. Overall this was a good and well-acted production with the story(s) coming across with conviction and real feeling to a well satisﬁed audience.
Report by John Warburton — Regional Councillor