Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

South Pacific

by Rodgers & Hammerstein

Performed: April 2018

(LTC Youth)

South Pacific by Rodgers & Hammerstein

Review by Caroline Kay – Burton Mail

Prepare for an enchanted evening as LTC Youth's production of South Pacific sees young talent shine

The show is still as fresh as ever with some of musical theatre's biggest-hitting songs

For me South Pacific is a musical which has it all. A great score, interesting characters, and a narrative which resonates even today.

The original musical premiered in 1949 on Broadway and, much to my delight, Little Theatre Company Youth have brought it to the Burton stage.

The show is still as fresh as ever with some of musical theatre's biggest-hitting songs including Happy Talk, Some Enchanted Evening, A Wonderful Guy, I'm Gonna Wash That Man, Younger Than Springtime, This Nearly Was Mine and There Is Nothing Like a Dame.

The plot centres on an American nurse Ensign Nellie Forbush (Emmie Doyle) who is stationed on an island in the South Pacific during the Second World War.

She falls in love with an older expatriate French plantation owner, Emile de Becque (Oliver Last) but finds it hard to accept his mixed race children.

A secondary romance between Lieutenant Joseph Cable (Ewan Bourne) and a young Tonkinese (now Vietnam) woman, Liat (Juliette Marchant), which explores the social consequences should he marry his Asian sweetheart.

The supporting cast includes fantastic characters such as Liat's mother, Bloody Mary (Scarlett Marchant) and comedic petty officer Luther Billis (Ben Winson), along with de Becque's children Ngana and Jerome (Anna Milne and Harry Dawber), Stewpot (Jim Haywood), Professor (Jay Kennedy), Captain Brackett (Aaron Titterton) Ensign Pamela Whitmore (Charlotte Davies), and the totally hilarious Jack Tunley who is part of the ensemble of seabees, pilots and marines. I shall be keeping my eye on this little star in the future – I see great things for him.

With Oliver Last taking on a lead role I knew before I even sat down that the show would be in the most capable of hands.

His rendition of This Nearly Was Mine was so beautiful, tears rolled down my cheeks unashamedly.

Last has a stage presence which is just sublime and in South Pacific his talent is matched by Emmie Doyle who is simply dynamite as his love interest.

Scarlett Marchant takes the stage by storm, throwing everything – including a couple of grass skirts and a shrunken head - into bringing the character Bloody Mary to life.

Marchant, who is almost unrecognisable thanks to the talents of make-up artist Emily Woolford, is a tour de force in this production and lights up the stage in her every scene. And she gets to sing one of the best-known songs from the show – Happy Talk.

Ewan Bourne and Juliette Marchant play the star-crossed lovers Liat and Cable with great warmth and Bourne sings Younger Than Springtime with such tenderness, I was completely transported into their world.

Under the direction of John Bowness, choreographer Katie Haywood and musical director Katie Hailstone, LTC Youth have, again, brought a polished production to the Burton stage.

I never tire of watching the area's younger talent shine on stage. They obviously love musical theatre and that shows in each and every actor’s performance.

 

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