I was invited to attend a performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I which is currently running at the Sydney Opera House until early November (subject to change).
Being somewhat familiar with the film yet never seeing it. So I am a relative noob when it comes to The King and I. The basic jist is that Anna Leonowens has moved from England to Siam to be the teacher to the King of Siam's numerous wives and spawn #fishoutofwater.
Starring 'our' Lisa McCune (4-time Logie award winner, Blue Heelers, Sea Patrol) as the single and ready to mingle, Anna Leonowens.
While Kiwi actor and rumored real life lover of the lead actress, Teddy Tahu Rhodes played the King of Siam (now known as Thailand). I feel like it was a bit odd to play the 'colour-blind' card considering it is about the KING of SIAM. Coincidentally, the understudy is Asian while the children and wives are as well...
It would be like if they cast a non-ginger as Prince Harry in that terrible reality show, I Want to Marry Harry. Could you imagine the uproar? (I know hair colour is not a race but I've been dying to put in a Harry reference somewhere!).
Putting that aside, you can't deny the chemistry between the two leads which is integral to making this musical full of PG sexual tension work.
Moving on.... Once I put my colour-blind glassses, I really enjoyed the show.
I was impressed with the gorgeous stage, especially the gold throne. Clearly I am easily impressed by shiny things.
And yes, they did perform Getting to Know You - have fun with that being stuck in your head! I was surprisingly quite impressed with Lisa's strong vocal performance as I simply didn't expect it, she nailed it.
The musical had moments of comedy, sincerity and the fun back-and-forth between the leads for dominance. Without giving too much away, the story wasn't as predictable as I thought and there was an unexpected twist, I should remind you this is for someone who has never seen the film.
Overall? I enjoyed the show. Plus it took out the title of Best Musical for the 2014 Helpmann Awards, not too shabby, ay? So if very public accolades can sway you, I would recommend you put this in your diary before it closes. It's the type of musical that would be great for a date night, or even where you could even take your parents but I wouldn't recommend taking younger kids as your money is probably better spent buying some Frozen merchandise.
The King and I is currently running at the Sydney Opera House until early November, 2014 (subject to change). You can find out more information and book tickets here.
Photos by Brian Geach
I attended The King and I as a media guest.