South Pacific by York Light Opera Company
York Theatre Royal
Till Sat Mar 14 @ 7.30pm (matinee 2.30pm on Saturdays)
I first came across York Light back in 2013 when I reviewed their production of Oliver and was really impressed by this extremely talented bunch of local amateur performers. I was delighted to have the opportunity to review their latest production, South Pacific.
I grew up on the great Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals; yet somehow never saw this one. That said, it’s surprising how many of the songs I recognised.
My friend knew the story, I didn’t. Both of us had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
As usual with this company the sets were cleverly thought out and the costumes well made and perfect. I particularly liked Nellie’s blue dress and her white statue of liberty costume.
Considering the story is set on two islands in the South Pacific I have to say York Light did an excellent job with their sets. I was rather pleased that the large amount of flesh on show was actually tanned, that said I was also rather envious of how toned some of it was as well!
A huge part of my enjoyment of the show was the amazing Rosy Rowley who strolled onto the stage as Bloody Mary and had the audience laughing with her for the rest of the show. She was hilarious, very well played and a great character.
For most of the first half of the show I couldn’t stop thinking that Emile de Becque, played by Richard Blackburn, looked an awful lot like Peter Andre rather than the middle aged Frenchman he was portraying.
His voice however soon won me over; he has a strong and deep voice that is mesmerising. I found myself rooting for his character in the second half.
Rachael Wilkinson who portrayed Nellie Forbush has a beautiful voice, and looked stunning in several of her outfits. She managed to portray humour, show off her dancing skills and even rock a swimsuit at one point.
Richard Hewley played Luther Billis, the wide boy of the Navy, and whilst most of his performance was fun, the scene at the Thanksgiving Show had us all howling with laughter. His portrayal of Honey Bun will stay with me.
I’ll never look at a grass skirt in the same way again.
This show is a typical Rodgers and Hammerstein production, great songs, dancing, humour, a love story – everything you could wish for. York Light put on an excellent performance as always.
The audience covered a range of ages and this is a show that you could take your children to just as easily as your granny. There’s something in it for everyone, including some adult humour that will go straight over the children’s heads.
The performance runs until March 14 when the Theatre Royal will close for a multi million pound refit. I think this was certainly the right performance to end the current era with.
The finale is a showcase of the songs from the show sung by the whole cast, and for me this is where the talents of York Light really come to the forefront. They have such a beautiful and complimentary blend of voices.
They may be an amateur company, but there certainly wasn’t anything amateur about the performance they put on for us tonight.
Whether you’re a fan of the story already or, like me, new to it this is a show that will certainly entertain you and you’ll leave the theatre with a very warm feeling on a cold wintry night.