Review: The King And I by New Earswick Musical Society
Venue: Joseph Rowntree Theatre, Saturday, May 3
There was nothing amateur about this performance from New Earswick Musical Society. It was such a great performance I was bawling my eyes out at the end of it!
I’m a diehard King And I fan (the Yul Bryner/ Deborah Kerr version) and was curious as to how they’d perform it on stage, and how the grandeur of Hollywood would translate from the big screen to the small stage.
I was delighted with every aspect of this performance, from the amazing costumes, the interesting and clever but simple set design to the portrayal of beloved characters.
It feels a little unfair to pick out certain individuals when all the cast performed so well, but I have to say, Steve Tearle stole the show as the king of Siam.
The arrogant way he strutted around the stage, his posturing, his repeated use of “et cetera, et cetera, et cetera”: he convincingly brought the role to life for me, and his version of Shall We Dance was brilliant.
The enthusiasm he put into that polka was heartwarming.
Jo Pears as Anna was a delight, but then Jo always is. She has an excellent voice that the audience loves, and played Anna to perfection.
For me the movie is all about the chemistry between Anna and the king; Jo and Steve recreated that perfectly for me.
Sam Lightwing was excellent as the prince, a real mini me of the king with his posturing, strutting and arrogance.
He handled the accent like a pro, as did all the cast I have to say. That was one of my concerns going into this, how a troupe of Yorkshire folk would portray the Siamese Royal Court, and every single one of them did the role justice.
One of my least favourite parts of the movie is the performance after the dinner with the dignitaries, the telling of Uncle Tom, yet I really enjoyed this version.
Being a fan of the film means I already knew the ending, so from Anna getting her letter from the king I was crying; mind you that was as much to do with the convincing performances.
By the time we got to the deathbed scene I needed tissues for the big fat, sad tears rolling down my face. For a cast to get that affect out of me from an amateur performance means they’ve put on a sterling performance.
My only regret is that I was too ill to attend and review the show opening night as planned, and to tell you how great a show this was in time for you to go see it. Huge thanks to New Earswick Musical Society for giving me this extra opportunity.
What I can tell you is that they will be putting on Mack And Mabel this November, and Oliver! in spring 2015 and I’ll definitely be interested in those performances, as should you be.
This small company put on a big show, leaving this reviewer on a high (as were many of the other audience members) and looking forward to seeing what they can do next time, as they seem to get better every time I see them.