King & I - 9th September 2000

For once I agree with the critics as this is indeed a lavish production with beautiful sets and costumes, yet all the glamour would be nothing if the actors, singing and staging were poor but gladly this was not the case .

Claire Moore was excellent as Anna, bringing over her feistiness, vulnerability and frustration as the two cultures tried to be in harmony. She has a great voice and delivered all her songs with the emotion or light hearted manner required. She created a wonderful relationship with the King with it's gradual build up to the classic 'Shall We Dance' as their mutual respect changes to something more. I loved the staging of the final scene where as Anna realises the King has died she reacts with her heart, having no thought of what is proper in the situation, runs to the bed and holds on to him in her grief.

Paul Nakauchi was also excellent as the King and he and Claire complimented each other very well. He bought across the frustration of the King eager to learn about the new world yet never wanting to be seen as weak. He also bought out the humour in the role as he enjoyed the repartees with Anna.

Gina Respall was a lovely Lady Chiang, desperate to see the King happy and doing anything to ensure his happiness as she knows Anna gives him something she can never give him. She has an absolutely beautiful voice and her rendition of 'Something Wonderful' was just that : )

Sean Ghazi and Aura Deva were the young lovers Lun Tha and Tuptim. They get to sing the two wonderful duets 'We Kiss in a Shadow' and 'I have Dreamed'. They created the innocence and hopelessness of their relationship very well. Sean brings out Lun Tha's desperation as he risks all for happiness. Aura brings out the anger and heartbreak of Tuptim during the 'House of Uncle Thomas' as due to tradition she is trapped in the palace. Her singing was slightly too operatic for my liking as her voice sounded 'older' than how she looked.

The company provided excellent support although the style of production meant that they augmented rather than played an integral part in the story. The show essentially concentrates on the relationship of the King, Anna, Lady Chiang, Lun Tha and Tuptim.

The style of production was very traditional and you could easily have been watching the original for the staging of the piece. Action in the background is minimal and often people had the stage to themselves to deliver their song. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and it was great to feel as though I had slipped back in time for a few hours.

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