The Lincoln Center’s revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s much loved classic musical; South Pacific is touring the UK after stints on Broadway and the West End.
Currently at the New Theatre in Oxford for the festive season, the show’s energetic portrayal and juxtaposition of romance and war undoubtedly captivated the audience.
Set on a tropical island during World War II, the well known musical explores love, conflict and racial prejudices.
Buzzing with energy in all the right places, the performance is full to the brim with memorable songs that will have the audience singing along – both young and old alike.
During the more lively numbers, heaps of sailors and nurses fill the stage with brilliantly choreographed routines and magical stagecraft, complimenting the 25 – piece orchestra beautifully.
The boisterous sailors, led by Alex Ferns as Luther Billis, provide a much needed element of comic relief. Without the sailors frequently bounding onto the stage, the atmosphere within the theatre would be uncomfortably intense.
The standout performance was, leading lady, Samantha Womack as Nellie Forbush. The former Eastenders actress illustrates the difficulties of living away from home and living in such an idyllic place whilst dealing with the brutalities of war. Her sassy American accent seemed natural and her dancing and singing appeared to be effortless. This role has allowed her to show what a high calibre performer she really is. It’s safe to say she has come a long way since her Eurovision Song Contest entry in 1991!
Another impressive performance was that of Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary – the Tonkinese pedlar. She combined comedy and the dark aspects of Bloody Mary’s character brilliantly and to the audience’s obvious delight. We see the sinister side of the character when she pimps out her young daughter to an American Lieutenant…
The performance certainly deals with the issues of war and romance relatively well; however, the portrayal of racial prejudice arguably leaves a lot to be desired. The romance between Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque ( Paolo Szot) is far too heavily indulged in and the fact that Nellie accepts Emile’s two mixed raced children is merely skimmed over.
The whole production lasts for a whopping 3 hours and the first part is significantly longer than the second, but despite this, the performance as a whole is enjoyable and fun for all the family.
Platform rating: 7/10
South Pacific comes to Nottingham’s Theatre Royal May 29 – June 9 next year, for more information or to buy tickets click here.