An evening at Liverpool's Empire Theatre, The Lincoln Centre Theatre's production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic 'The King and I.'
The story of Anna, an English governess who tries to help an Eastern king to come to become part of with the modern world, but he is unable to resist the forces of ancient customs.
Live music under the direction of Malcolm Forbes-Peckham. A great live sound, really adding to an enjoyable evening. In parts could possibly be a little louder, but given the average age of the audience, I do understand that this was probably a wise decision.
Choreography originally by Jerome Robbins and magically recreated by Christopher Gattelli, was clean and well executed, a particular favourite moment being the ballet in act 2, I believe that the choreography has been passed down from choreographer to choreographer all the way down to Greg Zane, US associate choreographer.
The attention to detail within the set, props and overall look of the stage was incredible, 22,000 flowers hanging from the ceiling in the garden scenes, each one made by hand. The costumes were beautiful also.
I'll take a moment now to praise the perfect casting of each role in the performance, we were trully transported overseas for the evening, every accent and mannerism perfect.
We can’t forget the lovely leading lady Annalene Beechey, who did a wonderful job as Anna Leonowens, a beautiful soft soprano vocal, and an engaging onstage chemistry with the King of Siam, Darren Lee, The script was a lot funnier than I remembered, the lines were expertly delivered, under the direction of Bartlett Sher. Neither Beechey or Lee put a foot out of place all night, and they were truly charming performing ‘Shall We Dance.’
A favourite moment for me was 'The March of Siamese Children.' featuring some very cute princes and princesses, some were very young and making their professional stage debut. The cast includes 19 children; however, each performance only seems to use around 6 or 7. And 4 little boys sharing the role of Louis
I really enjoyed the moments with Tumptim and Lun Tha, Jessica Gomez-ng and Ethan Le Phong, very nice vocals particularly during 'We Kiss in The Shadows.'
One of the loudest moments of applause of the whole evening was for Lady Thiang, with her rendition of a song aptly named ‘Something Wonderful.’
I'd like to take a moment to praise the ensemble, each and every one talented and adding something.
I struggled to think of any form of criticism about this performance, which for me is a little strange, so credit where credit is due, no technical issues at all. The only thing for me was the volume level, I would have like the entire overall sound to be a lot louder.
All in all, a great evening at the Empire and another success for the production team and cast, if you can get down and see the show while you can.
Performances until Saturday 21st March. https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-king-and-i/liverpool-empire/
Reviewer: Rebecca Casey
Reviewed: 11th March 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★