South Pacific was on at the Ambassador Theatre in Woking. I went to the Thursday matinee. I was delighted by the whole show and cast.
I was most surprised by Samantha Womack, who was in Eastenders as Ronnie Mitchell, a role I didn‘t like much. Seeing her live however has completely changed my mind about her. She had a good American accent and her singing is unmatched.
I remembered some of the songs like ‘Some enchanted evening’, ‘There’s nothing like a dame’ ‘Happy Talk – if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?‘ and ‘I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair’.
There were splendid dance routines with a fantastic orchestra, all in all making it a great show.
There was another Eastender star – Alex Fearns who played the evil Trevor who terrorised Little Mo all those years ago! I didn’t recognise him however until afterwards. Then I was like – no way! Wow!
There was a different actor playing Lieutenant Cable than billed, I think it was James Austen Murray rather than Daniel Koek. I got a programme and he looked more like James. Hope I’m not wrong! Apologies if it was another actor!
His singing was very good, especially his solos and it’s always nice to see understudies being given a chance to shine.
The show itself, for those who don’t know, is based in the 1940s; during World War II. Dealing with relations between the army and civilians. How we related to natives in different countries. Love and desire are placed against ideals and tested to the maximum. Samantha played our heroine Ensign Nellie Forbush who loves the nice Emile de Becque (played by Matthew Cammelle).
Can Nellie look past the fact Emile had a Polynesian wife before? Which was a big no-no in that era. Can she put aside the prejudice she’s been taught for the man she loves?
Lieutenant Cable falls for Liat, the daughter of Bloody Mary a Vietnamese immigrant (played by the magnificent Jodi Kimura who provides some great humour with her one liners). Again a doomed love affair, complicated when Cable contracts malaria. Cable doesn’t know how he can marry Liat and take her back to the base/America.
To forget their problems for a while both men decide to take on a dangerous mission. Billis (played by Alex) creates a distraction to allow Emile and Cable to get past the Japanese defences and launch a daring strike. Will they come back? You’ll just have to go and see! (If you do know or seen the film/play before – go and see again anyway!)
The cast were impressive, the set changes were speedy and I thought well timed. The beach set was most impressive it looked like there was a sand dune at the back with a gorgeous sea background. But it was solid as the actors/actresses could run across the dune it without throwing sand up (which would’ve been messy and problematic!)
The actors who played Commander Harbison and Captain Brackett could’ve picked up the pace a bit. They seemed a little tired compared to the energy of the rest of the cast.
I liked the fact all the actors/actresses were used, even if it was just walking along in the background. No one seemed to be missed out, which is rare in the plays I have seen.
Some of the background actors/actresses did start doing other things that caused distraction though. One pair were playing catch. Two girls lit a fire in a steel drum, to sit on the beach and others were having animated conservations which detracted from what was going on at the front.
Still it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment. It’s a pity it wasn’t on long enough! I wanted an encore! Encore! Encore!
I would definitely want to see this team again. I would fully recommend it.
Images reproduced from atgtickets.com and stagewon.co.uk
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