Review of The King and I at Norwich Theatre Royal: Nostalgic gem of a musical will leave you humming a happy tune
The King and I – Theatre Royal, Norwich
As one of the best-known musicals in the world, this production has been delighting audiences since the 1950s when Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr starred in the movie version.
It’s a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, packed with smash hits such as Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You and, of course, the iconic, Shall We Dance?
Broadway star Darren Lee plays the King of Siam, a proud, stubborn man who knows he should modernise his country, while Maria Coyne plays English governess Anna Leonowens who is employed to teach the royal children but finds her relationship with the king taking centre stage.
The clash of cultures provides much of the storyline and the show is very much of its time, with westerners describing those different to themselves as barbarians!
But, putting this aside, this is a big scale production, with gorgeous costumes, especially those marvellous hooped dresses, a live orchestra and a large cast - the royal children are as cute as they are talented.
If you like a bit of nostalgia, stunning singing and the odd flash of comedy, this gem is a perfect pick-me-up at a somewhat dreary time of year. You’ll come away whistling or, at least, humming a happy tune.
The musical continues until Saturday. Visit www.norwichtheatre.org
Review by Sarah Hardy