The much lauded production of Lincoln Center Theatre’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical South Pacific has docked in Sunderland on its tour. The musical boasts some of the greatest songs written for the genre, “Younger than Springtime”, “Some Enchanted Evening”, “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame”, the list goes on, and be assured each one is a classic.
At the heart of the story set in the second world war is typical fodder of the musical – boy meets girl, but then the twist in the story, racism. We are challenged and reminded that as we battle for equality in our world, as individuals we still are prejudiced as people and individuals, seeing what we believe to be right and being blinded to the actual truth.
There is a great deal to love in this production, but as much as I looked forward to seeing this show, for me it just didn’t work. The cast worked well, each hitting the mark as only professionals can, and yet their performances never seemed to leave the stage, being almost trapped in the set, not daring to cross the proscenium. Perhaps the set, designed by Michael Yeargan, a stunning and inventive series of plantation shutters kept the performances rooted to the spot.