This Thursday and Saturday night, the first play to be performed in the newly renovated Entertainment Centre is ‘The King and I’. And it’s got everything! Well, nearly everything. Unfortunately my suggestion for a pair of dancing elephants was unanimously voted down by the entire cast during the initial planning meeting.
The play tells the story of the relationship between the King of Siam and the English schoolteacher he hires to tutor his numerous children in the ways of the British. Oddly enough, her lessons don’t include any mention of penalty milking, hooliganism, or how to sprinkle brown vinegar onto ones’ cod n’ chips.
The Director, Beryl Wood, is a sprightly 79 year old with the energy and drive of a 49 year old. Beryl builds and paints the sets, sews the costumes and has somehow managed to herd the entire circus together for regular rehearsals. Although according to her husband, ‘Woody’, this will be her last big production; just like the last three were supposed to be!
Emily Newman is our female lead, Anna, and honestly, she is so amazing that you’d better catch her in this performance before she leaves for bigger and better things. Not only has she memorised several thousand of her own lines and songs, she’s memorised all mine as well, which will no doubt come in handy on opening night.
David O’Callaghan, plays the King. A new arrival to our shores, Irish Dave follows in the bare footsteps of Yul Brynner, a Russian born, American actor playing the part of an Asian ruler. Although, for some reason, Dave has ignored my numerous requests to shave his head like the great Yul.
The rest of the cast is made up of some seriously talented folk, and me. We’ve got a choir, dancers, a herd of kids, a full backing band, and bucket-loads of enthusiasm to make this a cracker of a show; even without the dancing elephants.