The theatre was a buzz with people of all ages coming to see the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic The King and I. The show, which is currently touring the country, tells the story of a widowed woman who is employed by the King of Siam to be the royal school teacher. The show has many varying storylines following the lives of all that surround them including Princess Tuptim who is sent to be a wife to the king.
The stage was set with regal jewel tones these colours made the richness of the show really shine. I was in awe of the costumes which portrayed the era beautifully but glistened so elegantly under the stage lighting. Truly a sight to behold. The set was extremely effective throughout. The scene changes were effortless being masked by dance numbers which were a marvel to watch as they took such core strength and balance from the ensemble.
The comedy in the show really came through which was an element I wasn’t expecting in the slightest but loved all the same. Mrs Anna played by Annalene Beechey showed such an elegant strength of character. The characters modern beliefs of feminism, I feel have really aided the show in staying relevant and will keep audiences coming back time and time again. Beechey’s vocals were superb throughout and she carried each song which such an intense narrative. Really aiding the storyline and bringing such a warmth to this iconic character.
Darren Lee as the King of Siam acted his part superbly. He brought such light and shade throughout the entire show. His comedic timing was second to none. I thoroughly loved watching him softening towards Anna. The pair shared such a special bond on stage, and this was truly captivating to watch.
I couldn’t fault Marienella Phillips as Tuptim, her vocals were magnificent. She breezed through her upper range. Her last scene showed such a poise and a true understanding for her character.
Her songs with Dean John-Wilson were heart-warming. Their tones matched each other stunningly. A true treat for the ears.
The child actors were definite stars of the show. The audience cooed the second the children appeared, and this continued throughout. Every one of the children gave an incredible performance.
A standout section of the show was the play at the start of the second half. The talent of the ensemble was undeniable. The dance skill needed just to perform this one section is worth the price of the ticket alone. Every second of this piece was remarkable to watch. The use of cloth and props here added to the visual spectacle.
The King and I is a magical show for all ages. With a heart-warming script, modern feminist beliefs and a stellar cast. Book your tickets now for the perfect half term show for the whole family. It’s not to be missed!
Playing until 3rd June, https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/regent-theatre/
Reviewer: Leanne Rushton
Reviewed: 29th May 2023
North West End UK Rating: