The production touring the UK began at Lincoln Center in New York and while it is scaled down a little, it still has a big and magnificent sounding orchestra (conductor, Jae Alexander ) and a large and talented ensemble. Samantha Womack creates a believable and nuanced Nellie Forbush and as the slightly mysterious Emile, Matthew Cammelle is in wonderful voice.
Tony nominated actress Loretta Ables Sayre has been with the production since it began in New York and her magnificent Bloody Mary has a world weary wiliness. In fine comic relief form is the blustering Billis of Alex Ferns and Daniel Koek sings the hell out of Joe Cable.
The direction by Bartlett Sher is rather more traditional than the National Theatre version by Trevor Nunn of a few years back. Yet, there are moments of real invention and beauty in his production. As there is in the musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, especially in the rousing There Is Nothing Like A Dame.
Too often fine musicals from the past have their reputations sullied by cheap and unimaginative touring versions so there is a real joy to seeing and particularly hearing this fine production of a classic musical.