Guest post by Kylee Symes
It was with a little trepidation I accepted tickets to South Pacific, as I have never been a Blue Heeler, Sea Patroller or fan of Lisa McCune in general. All second thoughts disappeared the moment our car key was handed to the valet at the impressively reinvented Burswood Crown in Perth. The air of excitement and the smiling, buzzing opening night crowd gathered in the foyer, a positive precursor for the performance ahead.
South Pacific is an American classic, set on two islands in The South Pacific during World War II, anti-racism sentiments in the second act adding depth and dimension to the narrative.
The depth and simplistic detail of the set, paired with the innovative lighting design, reflected beautiful Polynesian sunsets capturing the mood and moment of each scene. The backlit sky is almost a character in itself.
South Pacific is spectacular and Lisa is a highlight, totally owning her role as Nellie. Lisa’s Arkansas accent is authentic and fun, her performance joyfully fluid, transition between speech and song seamless. Opening scenes filled with buff, bare chested sailors bouncing about the stage, an enticing entrée for the captivating energy on set to follow.
The Perth Symphony Orchestra delivered the legendary Rodgers & Hammerstein score with mesmerising perfection, the orchestral beauty and familiarity of songs like ‘Wash That Man Outa My Hair’ and ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ almost rendered the vocals irrelevant.
Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ (Emile) booming baritone lead was a little distracting and whilst his French accent was not convincing, his operatic expertise saved his performance. His imposing stature also worked to accentuate Lisa’s petite, nimble performance.
Christine Anu as Bloody Mary was fabulous, the brilliant costume complete with decaying dentures rendering the stunning star unrecognisable. Blake Bowden’s impressive performance as Lt Cable matched his physique, his superb shoulders and ripped torso bought to life by more skilled use of lighting design – a joy to watch.
I thoroughly enjoyed South Pacific, I only wish I got the memo about the streamers to throw on stage during the end ovation…. After enviously looking under my chair in case I missed my allocation on first glance, I made do with old-fashioned applause.
Kylee Symes is an aspiring writer, voracious reader, mum of two and guest blogger.
South Pacific – Starring Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes
The Crown Theatre – Bolton Ave, Burswood WA 6100
PERTH SEASON: from 10th November for a strictly limited four-week season.
Tickets from $74.90*
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