Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Review: The King And I, Theatre at the Mill

Cheesy tunes to have you humming

Much has been made of the fact that the Theatre at the Mill's new production of The King And I is Northern Ireland's first professional production of the musical.

There are things to commend, chiefly Colette Lennon's Anna, who channels Julie Andrews both vocally and in acting style — no bad thing when you consider The King And I is a real life version of The Sound Of Music 60 years earlier and set in the Far East.

The children are, on the whole charming, the set modest. The music, of course, is sublime, although some numbers are sung and played better than others. Getting To Know You, for example, was a triumph, with Colette singing this familiar, moving song surrounded by a representative sample of the King's offspring.

Their father, interpreted by Ashley Alymann, a London actor with Malaysian roots, as stern and misogynist without Yul Brynner's charm made you realise what a period piece this is. Joanne Henry's head wife delivered the ancient ways of Siam with more conviction.

But you don't go to The King And I for serious sociology.

Of course, there is a kind of frustrated resolution.

Yet this is a musical, containing the cheesiest numbers. And they're brilliant, so you will leave the theatre humming.

Jane Hardy

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