An enchanting performance which delights those both familiar and unfamiliar with the original story; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I reels you into the characters’ lives and stories leaving you wanting for nothing. The story is delivered with a richness that dazzles the audience, from the exquisite set design to the much loved and beautifully orchestrated songs.
Anna Leonowens (Maria Coyne) travels to Siam to take on the role of governess to the King of Siam’s (Jose Llana) wives and children. As the story unfolds Mrs Anna evolves from a teacher, to a royal advisor and much relied upon friend to the King. Coyne and Llana have beautiful chemistry from the outset, their fiery friendship is comedic and charming. Llana is a delightful King, bringing an unexpected level of comedy to the role, his timing and expression addNig to the amiability of hischaracter. Mrs Anna and the King’s relationship offers a unique look at the problems arising from the King’s attempts to Westernise Siam, the difficulties he faces presenting both conflicts and comedy.
Getting to Know You and Shall We Dance are songs which hold a special place in many hearts, and are beautifully performed in this incarnation Rodger and Hammerstein’s classic. The King’s children are a delight to watch throughout the play, and are especially charming in Getting to Know You. The set design and costumes come together beautifully with Coyne and Llana in Shall We Dance, a gorgeous performance which more than lives up to expectation.
The entire musical is exquisitely choreographed (Emma Woods), the physically demanding displays by the ensemble are a joy to watch. Most notably Tuptim’s (Jessica Gómes-Ng) rendition of The Small House of Uncle Thomas is impossible to look away from, the 16-minute ballet a sensory masterpiece.
The creative and production team must be commended, the costume and set design enhance the storytelling, both creating a realistic feel transporting the audience to Siam. From 22,000 handcrafted flowers to the 2500 metres of fabric used, the effort and skill that has gone into bringing this story to life does not go unnoticed. The King and I receives a much deserved standing ovation; the stunning visuals, score and acting are a credit to the original story.