Canal Street Online Manchester

The King and I

The King and I

Take Rodgers and Hammerstein's wonderful score, add a beautiful and very clever set design along with some stunning tableaux silhouettes; all of these promised that we were in for a visual feast at The Lowry last night. We weren’t disappointed.

Several highlights were enjoyed by an audience of all ages. These included fine performances from Ramon Tikaram as the King, Josefina Gabrielle as Anna and Maya Sapone as Lady Thiang. Despite some minor technical difficulties with the set and a marked lack of consistant pace in the first 45 mins, the audience enjoyed a first act with tells a tender story of love and which was made universally famous in the film starring Yul Bryner and Deboral Kerr.

This beautiful story is helped immensely by some of the most memorable songs in Musical Theatre history. These include ‘Getting to know You and ‘Something Wonderful’ to name just two. Add to this some lovely visual images and superb choreography created by David Needham and you’re definitely on a winner.

With pace now in place, the story escalates in act 2 with the King and Anna now falling more 'in love' despite their constant differences. There is also a secondary story of the two young lovers who are soon to be separated. Also, the story of the King’s desire to impress the visiting British Dignitaries and to prove to them that he isn’t a “barbarian”. We are then treated to the true highlight of the evening, with the stunning ballet in 'The Small House of Uncle Thomas'. This breathtaking interpretation of a familiar scene, clearly enthralled the entire audience and received the best and longest ovation of the night. With this scene, Choreographer, David Needham, who is local to Manchester, yet again demonstrated how he is able to complement wonderful scores, with equally wonderful choreography.

Following this, the pace of the piece really kicks in. Lun Tha, one of the star crossed lovers is killed trying to escape. Anna is yet again, persuaded to stay on in Siam. Tikaram and Gabrielle captured the emotion of the death-bed scene with great subtlety. In his final moments, the giving of a ring is the ultimate gesture of affection from the King to Anna. All in all, a packed first-night House thoroughly enjoyed this journey to 1860's Siam. We recommend you do too.

‘The King and I’ runs at The Lowry until this Saturday. For more information and to book, please click here.

Published: 22-Feb-2012

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