The King and I, Review

Timeless and famous musical by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics) contributes considerably to the festive atmosphere in Leicester this year. Fable-like music, intriguing plot, and what you may not expect at all in 19th Century Siam – snow.  All that makes a trip to Curve suitable for all ages and, moreover, guarantees great fun.

The story originates from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became school teacher to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (present Thailand) in the early 1860s. The musical is based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon and it was first staged on Broadway in 1951. The King and I ran then for more a thousand performances, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. It spawned numerous revivals and a successful 1956 film production.

The King and I - CurveThe set in Curve reminds the audience that it is the Christmas extravaganza, however simple solutions like the huge statues of Buddha, video projection, puppets and the shadow theatre are widely embedded in the story. All prove to be working seamlessly and effectively. Dynamic set accompanied by fabulous costumes, bits and pieces of pantomime, ballet, Asian style and classic dancing let the audience experience diversity in the theatre and satisfy all tastes. 

Janie Dee as Anna, the School Teacher stands out amongst the cast with an assertive and warm performance. Chook Sibtain as the King is absolutely brilliant – authoritative, but funny. Matthew Russell as Louis is confident and very professional as for the 12 year old. Finally, loads of credits are owed to the King’s children – local young people, as young as 5 for whom some it is a first performance on stage. They act with great confidence amongst the professionals.    

Again this year, Curve provides perfect Christmas entertainment for the whole family. So spare a few pounds for The King and I as it is a high quality production with a Broadway feel. Simply, let it bring you closer to Christmas, etc, etc…

3 December 2010 – 15 January 2011, Curve, Leicester
Joanna Gulbinska

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