Friday, 19 October 2007

South Pacific - New Wimbledon & Tour

South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein
New Wimbledon Theatre: 16th - 20th Oct & Tour

Directed By: Julian Woolford

Musical Direction: Gareth Williams

Choreography: Chris Hocking

Reviewed by: Zahid Fayyaz

Halfway through their regional tour, this new production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein production comes to Wimbledon. Set on a south Pacific Island during World War 2, this is the story of a nurse, Nellie Forbush, and her relationship with ‘mysterious’ French plantation owner, Emile De Beque. As with most musicals, the path of true love does not go smoothly, with various external and internal factors getting in their way. There are of course various other supporting characters and subplots, though it wouldn’t be surprising that it’s mainly based on love and trying to get ‘some’. Add a few songs in-between and dodgy dialogue, and that’s the play!

In terms of quality, this is not one of the best musicals around at the moment. The songs are pretty good, although it’s nothing particularly memorable or humable. The acting generally static, though the accents are particularly bad in some cases. David willets Frenchman sounds like he comes from Transylvania, and the less said about Bloody Marys sub ‘Born on the Fourth of July’ Vietnamese attempts the better. Helen Blackman’s nurse Nellie is a good lead actress, whilst Christopher Howell’s Luther Billis makes the best out of Luther Billis’s clich├ęd shtick as a navy con artist with a heart oof gold. And the cast did the best to rise above the technical problems and collapsing sets. Generally though, it was just a barely average play with a whole load of predictable plot and emotional twists.

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