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The King and I, The Alexandra, Birmingham - review and pictures

By Kirsten Rawlins | Birmingham | Entertainment | Published:

Something Wonderful is going on at The Alexandra in Birmingham - an outstanding, beautiful performance of the King and I.

THE KING AND I by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, , UK ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR -DAVID SIEBERT, SETS -MICHAEL YEARGAN, COSTUMES -CATHERINE ZUBER, LIGHTING - DONALD HOLDER, Manchester Opera House, 2019, Credit: Johan Persson.

Fresh from a record-breaking season at The London Palladium, the polished, glistening rendition of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical was nothing short of flawless from start to end - from the well-thought-out, effective sets; to the absolute perfect casting; wonderful vocals; and beautiful choreography.

Directed by Tony Award-winning Bart Sher, the play mesmerised from the get-go, starting with the arrival of Anna and her son Louis on a great wooden ship which sailed into the centre of the stage.

The King and I is being staged at The Alexandra until January 4. Credit: Johan Persson

And, as the superbly talented Annalene Beechey - playing the part of Anna - launched into the very first musical number I Whistle A Happy Tune, it seemed she were born for the role.

She was simply magnificent in every sense, portraying the strong-willed, yet loving and caring role of the Welsh schoolteacher with excellence; all while boasting superb vocals - making pieces such as Getting To Know You and Shall I Tell You What I Think Of You an absolute delight to watch.

The show’s entire cast were tremendous in fact, with wonderfully cute children playing the parts of the King’s sons and daughters - with such attention to detail in their roles, that each scene with them in saw audience members smile with fondness, as the little ones performed to the highest standards.

Playing the part of the King last night was Kok-Hwa Lie, who made a truly fantastic job of delivering a character who was both mean and dictator-like, but also humorous, endearing and almost child-like. A difficult role and he played him with perfection.

The King and I is being staged at The Alexandra until January 4. Credit: Johan Persson

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The show’s 50 performers and full-scale orchestra delivered each of the musical’s beloved numbers wonderfully, with each singer boasting brilliant voices, and each dancer outstanding choreography - their moves impressing in particular during their performance of The Small House of Uncle Thomas.

And though we were unable to see the orchestra, they too did a fantastic job - whether playing full numbers or simply providing sound effects.

The King and I is being staged at The Alexandra until January 4. Credit: Johan Persson

As each of the cast performed, they were dressed in the most beautiful, vibrant outfits - with particular favourites of mine being Anna’s gorgeous array of gowns which floated and shone as she danced beneath the lights.

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It was a show like no other I have seen, encompassing musical brilliance, excellent acting, fantastic choreography, beautiful wardrobe and sets, and magnificent casting.

The best musical I have ever seen.

The King and I runs at The Alexandra until January 4 - miss it, miss out.

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins
@kirsten_Star

Digital Content Manager for the Shropshire Star and Express & Star. Also reviews concerts and events, as well as writing features and celebrity interviews. E-mail me at kirsten.rawlins@shropshirestar.co.uk, or phone 01952 241440.

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