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South Pacific (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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It’s a true musical classic, a piece of theatre that naturally pulls in the crowds - a fact proven by its return to Manchester’s Palace Theatre just five months since it was last in the city.

South Pacific is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s production set during World War Two, which focuses on the whirlwind romances of two unexpected couples. The songs certainly bring a sense of nostalgia, the likes of  "I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair", and "Some Enchanted Evening" drawing a knowing smile.

But while the show is indisputably well delivered, it does not have the energy and panache one would hope for, and Act One in particular is dragged out for far too long.

Instead of leaving the auditorium with a buzz, the production simply leaves you satisfied - yes the singers can sing, yes, the dancers can dance, yes, the set is delightful - but there isn't that ‘wow’ factor you expect from such a renowned show.

Rebecca Thornhill, as Ensign Nellie Forbush, has a lovely voice, but as the leading lady lacks the ability of truly embracing her character, and letting go. And although Matthew Cammelle, as Emile de Becque, certainly does his role justice, the rapport he shares with Thornhill is, at times, unconvincing.

Nonetheless, Alex Ferns - most well-known for his role as EastEnders baddy Trevor Morgan - steals the show with his highly watchable portrayal of Luther Billis, and Loretta Ables Sayre is an absolute treat as Bloody Mary.

Overall, it may not be the enchanted evening one would hope for, but the music, live orchestra and charisma of the navy boys are undoubtedly factors that will leave you feeling entertained.

- Rebecca Cohen


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