There are lots of amateur theatrical groups around the country and they all do a pretty good job at putting on their performances, then occasionally a company excel. This is certainly the case with The Company of Four’s latest offering, South Pacific.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific first saw light of day in 1949 as a stage musical, nine years later Hollywood produced a film version. Since that time the story has continued to draw audiences to both stage and screen adaptations.
Packed with some of some of the most memorable songs in the world of musicals it’s a big show.
The story centres around not one but two love stories set on an island in the South Pacific during World War II.
The main love story is that of Nellie Forbush (Kerri Lees) a nurse with the American Forces and Emile de Beque (Julian Illman) a mysterious French plantation owner. Emile seems to have a dark past but it is not this that looks to jeopardise the couple’s happiness but a deeper prejudice.
The second love story is that of young Lt Joe Cable (Darren Scriven) who falls for a native girl but then finds himself like Nellie held back by a similar prejudice.
Remember at the time that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote South Pacific mixed relationships in America were still much frowned upon. So will true love prevail, well you will just have to go along to find out.
What I can tell you is that you will be blown away by the performances of this wonderful cast. Kerri Lees has a truly tremendous voice and stage presence, dealing with the humour and pathos of the piece, Julian Illman will just knock you back in your seat. Julian has such a powerful and perfect voice that he could probably be heard in The Thoroughfare. Both Kerri and Julian could easily grace any professional company.
The two lead characters aside the whole cast have worked to create something that each and everyone of them can be justly proud.
Special mention to director David Caddick, David is retiring to France and so this is his last production for the company…. certainly going out on a high!
In conclusion do not miss South Pacific, forget you are sitting in The Riverside Theatre, Woodbridge, because you could easily be watching this in the West End.
Riverside Theatre, Woodbridge until Saturday July 5th. Box Office 01394 382174 or online at www.thecompanyoffour.co.uk
Mark Keable – Ipswich24 Magazine