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Review: South Pacific - Barbican Centre, London


Weds 24th Aug - 7.30pm A full house this evening to see the Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific.

The show cloth opens and the audience is transported to a tropical island in the South Pacific with a shimmering ocean, golden sand, palm trees and the grand home of frenchman Emile De Becque (Paulo Szot). The lighting subtly changes as evening falls with an array of sunset colours, adding to the island ambience. Through the rest of the production the set develops into a field office, soldier's camp, and the mystical island of Bali Ha'i.

Vocals are strong throughout the production with some lovely tone. A particular mention goes to Paulo Szot who's rich baritone quality brings maturity and sensitivity to his character Emile De Becque. His heartfelt interpretation of 'Some Enchanted Evening' was a real highlight of the show.

Samantha Womack (playing Nellie) has a voice suited to Rodgers & Hammerstein with a delicate range and ease. She adapted well to the different tempi of her songs and added real American charm to nurse Nellie. Numbers that were performed exceptionally well by Womack were 'A Cock-Eyed Optimist' and 'Honey Bun'.

A special mention must also go to Loretta Ables Sayre (playing Bloody Mary). Experienced in this role, Sayre brings both strong character and vocals to the native Bloody Mary and her performance of 'Bali Ha'i' is a real treat
The remainder of the cast supported the production and portrayal of the story effectively and added to the  wartime spirit.

Although South Pacific is one of the longer musicals to be performed, the tropical set and talented cast ensured I really did have an 'enchanted evening' at the Barbican.

South Pacific runs until 1st October - Buy tickets HERE

Review by Philippa Bellis

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