South Pacific, the epic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, opened on the 2nd January 2013, to a packed audience of Brisbane’s who’s who at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC.
The energy in the house was electric and included two special audience members who were in the original Australian production.
Opera Australia teamed up with Producer John Frost and Director Bartlett Sher to present the 60th Anniversary production of South Pacific. Set against the background of World War II, the themes of South Pacific are still relevant today as it addresses themes of war, racism, tolerance, and of course love.
The show opened with colour and vitality to a gorgeous island inspired set by designer Michael Yeargan, complemented by Donald Holder’s lighting design and conductor Stephen Gray’s tantalising orchestra playing the full seven minute overture.
Award winning opera star Teddy Tahu Rhodes did not disappoint as the quintessential leading man, Emile De Becque. The sheer presence of his height mixed with his rich bellowing honey-like voice, was instantly captivating. Particularly moving was his rendition of ‘This Nearly Was Mine’ evoking cheers and yelps and bought tears to the eyes of not only the performer but the audience who had the pleasure to share the moment with him.
Gold Logie actress Lisa McCune is beautiful as ever and joining the all-star line-up for the Brisbane season is House Husbands star Gyton Grantley as the scheming but loveable Luther Billis and Christine Anu who was a standout in the role of Bloody Mary. Her scary-eyed, betel nut chewing character limped along the stage with the catch phrase “you like” after almost every sentence. Her intense vocals were rich and warm and the tormented essence of her character was moving.
Daniel Koek also deserves a mention as Lieutenant Cable; his soaring tenor vocals effortlessly delivered ‘Younger Than Springtime’.
South Pacific is a charming musical with a string of hit show tunes. This man-heavy musical showed a strong ensemble, but it was the beautiful and cheery women nurses’ rendition of ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair’, that captivated and delighted the audience.
For an enchanted evening, head on down to QPAC where South Pacific will be playing until January 27.
For more information, visit southpacificmusical.com.au