The King and I – Norwich Theatre Royal
What a truly fantastic show! One of the great classic musicals from Rodgers & Hammerstein performed to perfection in a lavish, colourful and exquisite production at Norwich Theatre Royal.
Everyone knows the story, right? It’s late 19th Century and widowed Anna, a British school teacher heads to Siam to be the governess for the King, and his wives and his many children in his bid to modernise his country. Although the King is difficult and reluctant of the change, Anna’s warmth, love, intelligence, and kindness to all, slowly brings the King around. He dies content, knowing his son has a good heart and will make the right decisions.
A secondary love story sees Tuptim, the King’s newest wife, given as a gift from the King of Burma. Tuptim had to leave behind her real love Lun Tha, however they secretly meet and decide to run away when they are caught by the Head wife Lady Thang.
The King and I is a musical with a wonderful story that flows well through the performance with plenty of script to make the story broad and embracing. It includes the learning of different cultures and having both respect, compassion and understanding for those differences, it’s two love stories, one where you would do anything for love and the other where it is just impossible to cross the line. The depth of the story lines is a delightful bonus to absorb all your emotions for maximum engagement.
The addition of the well-placed and fabulous songs, which include, ‘I Whistle a Happy Tune’, ‘Shall We Dance’ ‘I Have Dreamed’ and ‘Western People Funny’ are sung and performed flawlessly and accompanied by a marvellous live orchestra.
The cast were utterly incredible, completely authentic, and believable all with wonderful voices. They were all magnificent. There were several scenes with many of the King’s children, all who brought applause from the audience and of course the ‘aaawwwss’ when the younger ones came out and did their piece. Although it is very difficult to pull out a stand-out performance as they were all exceptional, Calab Lagayan who played Prince Chulalongkorn was brilliant at portraying a petulant, angry young man who turned his attitude around and opened his heart to new ways of thinking.
The scenery and the costumes were bright, colourful, realistic and gave the whole show that extra level of quality. This was a high quality, highly professional show which was wonderful to see in Norwich. This one is definitely in my top 5!
The King and I – Main Cast:
Anna – Annalene Beechey
The King – Darren Lee
Lady Thang – Cezarah Bonner
TupTim – Marienella Phillips