The King and I – 2016

Our 2016 Main Production was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The King and I’. The King and I centres around the relationship between a governess, Anna Leonowens, who is commissioned to teach the children of the King Mongkut of Siam in a drive to modernise his country.

Anna and the king have a clash of personalities as she works to teach the royal family about the English language, customs and etiquette, and rushes to prepare a party for a group of European diplomats who must change their opinions about the king.

With such memorable classic songs such as “Shall we dance”, “whistle and happy tune” and “getting to know you” we enjoyed bringing this performance to life.

Stuart Raphel played The King and Kate Yates played Anna, with wonderful support from Kathy Jordan, Rebecca McGreevy, Rob Minjoot and Connah Turner and our enthusiastic chorus.

Our NODA review is below.

THE KING AND I …………Rock Ferry Operatic Society.

A spectacular show, the King and I poses many challenges to the amateur society; costumes and scenery for openers. I’m pleased to report that Rock Ferry met these challenges head on and delivered an excellent interpretation of this classic musical.

Director Sarah Jane Aston and her assistant Kate Yates combined with Greg Williams to bring out the best from the player in terms of acting, singing and use of the limited space which exist in this particular venue. The set was effective courtesy of Carlton Little Theatre and BOST and the back stage production team all played their part in the shows success.

This society is fortunate in having a fine cast of principals, chorus , dancers and on this occasion children. The latter are always a feature for the audience particularly in the “March of the Siamese Childen and it was well done although I felt it lacked a little pace.

Kate Yates played Anna Leonowens in exactly the right style and sang well demonstrating her considerable experience.

Stuart Raphel enacted the role of the king and again brought his considerable talent to bear in this demanding role. A little underplayed at times he nevertheless showed why he is in demand by various societies in the area.

Kathy Jordan executed the role of Lady Thiang more than competently and for me had the best song in the show “Something Wonderful”. Tuptim was the perfect part for Rebecca McGreevy; this young lady has twice been nominated for NODA awards and improves with every performance. Opposite her was Connah Turner who played Lun Tha; he needs confidence in his singing but when he gains this he will be a valuable asset to any group. Robert Minjoot (the Kralahome) is a seasoned performer who can always be relied upon the give a strong performance and this was no exception.

Young persons play a considerable part in this show. As Louis Leonowens, Adam Cusack acted well above his age which happens to be 10! ….hard to believe! Two names were featured as Prince Chulullongkorn Oliver Bennet and Shuban Kumar. Oliver played the part when I saw the show and did a fine job with just the right amount of regal standing and I am sure Shuban did similarly. There always has to be the “cheeky” one amongst the royal children and Charlotte Walton did it beautifully; at 6 years old this is frightening for us older thespians. We had some fine supporting roles; Steve Walls as Captain Orton, Dave Coleman as Sir Edward Ramsey and Stephen Wooder as Phra Alak whose contribution might be small but is vital.

I have mentioned the Siamese children and would add to these some excellent dancers and choreographer Linda Waldron. The Ballet scene was especially good.

All in all this was a genuinely strong performance and the whole of the Rock Ferry team can be congratulated on this fine performance.

Budge Grounsell, NODA Representative