Brisbane audiences were treated to a lavish production by the creative team behind “The King and I” on Saturday night. This Rogers and Hammerstein classic is set in Siam in the 1860’s where Anna Leonowens is about to dock down river from the King’s Palace in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
It has been some 23 years since this production first opened in Australia. The multiple Tony award winning production earned it’s stripes in New York’s famous Broadway theatre district in 1996 with Hayley Mills playing Anna.
This epic masterpeice carries on with Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the lead roles. Initially I thought Teddy’s dialogue was a bit ‘corny’ but as the scences unfolded it became less aparent and you warmed to his humour. Teddy’s voice could carry a nation into tears. True depth and clarity.
Lisa has always been Australia’s favourite daughter on the small screen but her theatre roles have jettisoned her to great heights and a worthy recipient of this role.
A superb cast brings you into the set and you feel the culture, the tension, the love and the drama as the production unfolds.
Marty Rhone (The Kralahome) and Shu-Cheen Yu (Lady Thiang) portray strong characters and their characters shine through their roles to great effect.
I pay special tribute to Jenny Liu (Tuptim) and Adrian Li Donni (Lun Tha) who stood out with their vocal performances and on-stage chemistry. Future Broadway stars in their own right.
John Adam (Sir Edward Ramsey/Captain Orton) is such a versatile actor and adapts to these scene changes with ease. He is always in character and adds to the cast immeasurably.
The Brisbane children who played the King’s children were outstanding and a credit to the production team who mentored these children for such a large role. They spent a lot of time on stage and had plenty to do.
The set, costumes and choreography are truly first class and draw you in at first glance. No expense was spared with a $6 million budget taking you on a luxurious journey into the King’s palace.
I urge Brisbane audiences to absorb the culture, share the story and take a journey to Siam with “The King and I”.