Monday, 20 October 2014

The King and I

(Opera Australia and John Frost)

Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical 'The King and I' is this year's money spinning musical to complete the 2014 Opera Australia Sydney season.

This production of the experience of Anna Leonowens who travels to the court of the King of Siam to teach dozens of Royal children has been around since the late 1990s and is deceptively simple in its staging but still visually stunning.

It is difficult to imagine any stage production matching the superb film version of 1956 in which Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr made the two main characters absolutely their own but to my surprise Lisa McCune especially and Teddy Tahu Rhodes come mighty close in their performances.

I don't know why this production presents Sir Edward Ramsay as a bit of a buffoon which makes one wonder why Anna would have tolerated him as an early beau but his is an incidental character with only the one appearance and so this is a minor quibble.

Just about as good as it gets for classic Broadway musicals.


  1. This is a special one for me. I saw Yul Brynner as the king on Broadway in the 70s. I've probably already told you this... But it's a very special memory for me. I also saw Rudolph Nureyev as the king in a production in San Francisco in the '90s. Amazing. Here's the link to post I wrote about it. You probably remember it.

    1. Thanks Walt. Your post on this is a lovely reminiscence.

      I didn't mention in my post that every time I see the film I'm in tears when the King dies at the end. I always find it so moving. It was the same at the Opera House last Saturday. Tears welled up at the end.