Live reviews

The King and I - DeMontfort Hall, Leicester

If you want to be transported away from Leicester for a couple of hours, go to see the production of the” King and I” at DeMontfort Hall this week. You really felt that you had gone to Siam. What a spectacular show!! The costumes were exquisite, the scenery excellent and the actors wove the magic to make believe you were there. Everything was so believeable.

Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s music still appeals to all, even in this 21st century. I have only ever seen the Yul Brynner and Deborah Carr version of this story until last night , and I wondered if it could be as good, well it surpassed all expectations. Kevin Gray made a wonderful King, his powerful voice resonated throughout the auditorium. Elizabeth Renihan was just right for the part of Anna and she showed a softness when it was needed, but also a determination when she stood up for herself. She had a beautiful voice that was clear, so that every word could be heard.

The other main parts had equally good voices expressing the emotion of the songs. At times I shed a tear and I feel sure that so did some of the rest of the audience, especially with the songs “We Kiss in a Shadow” - by Tuptim and Lun Tha, “Something Wonderful” - by Lady Thiang and “Hello, Young Lover’s” sung by Anna herself.

I had forgotten also all the comedy bits there were, and the audience were kept amused at the antics of the children and the King himself with Anna.

You could see there was a growing fondness betweenthe King and Anna and the ending was so touching. The “Shall We Dance “ number got whistles and claps from the audience and the scene that protrayed the King’s imminent death showed her strong feeling towards him when she goes back on her decision to leave, to stay and carry on educating the new young King.

One area I feel that I must mention is that of Tuptim’s play - “Small House Of Uncle Thomas”. This ballet was so beautifully done, the moves well executed and the costumes stunning.

Special mention and credit must be given to the two youngsters that played Louis - Harry Simons and Prince Chulalongkorn - Omar Al Khina as they stayed in character very well and helped to make the whole thing believeable.

It is difficult to put into words everything I thought about this production but I must hand it to DeMonfort Hall they certainly know how to put on a winning formula. Keep it up!

Although the production finishes its run at De Montfort Hall on the 17th of September, the company are continuing on a UK tour throughout the remainder of September at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, continuing throughout the months of October and November across the country, ending at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking on the 3rd of December.

Click on the graphic above to lead to the production website.

Peggy Sue


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