Monday, April 2, 2012

'South Pacific' - UK Touring Cast

This was the first time I saw a professional touring production. What I have heard is that these touring casts tend to be an amazingly talented bunch of people and the only reason they are not in the West End is because they are not famous enough outside musical theatre circles. There is so much competition between shows in the West End as each one tries to attract the audiences that famous people are seen as a fairly essential component in the success of a show. People often go and see touring productions regardless of who is in them because there is not as much choice at any one time. 

Poster for the 2008 Broadway revival
South Pacific at New Wimbledon Theatre
Performance: Friday 23rd March at 19:30
Seat: Central right Dress Circle (my ticket was Upper Circle but there were so many empty seats lower down that they had moved everyone down a level)
Cast included: Samantha Womack (Nellie Forbush), Matthew Cammelle (Emile de Becque), Alex Ferns (Luther Billis), Daniel Koek (Lieutenant Cable), Loretta Ables Sayre (Bloody Mary), Elizabeth Chong (Liat), Cameron Jack (Stewpot), Luke Kempner (Professor), Dominic Taylor (Commander Harbison), Nigel Williams (Captain Bracknett)

Despite South Pacific being such a famous, classic piece by Rodgers & Hammerstein, I must admit, I did not know much about the show prior to seeing it on this occasion. My research showed that both the original Broadway production and the Broadway revival had both won a large number of Tonys. 
The plot very briefly: Two love stories in (surprise, surprise!) the South Pacific during World War II. One between an American nurse and a French gentleman living on the island and the other between an American Lieutenant and an Asian woman. Racism is one of the main issues the musical deals with. 

The feedback for this particular production (based on the 2008 Broadway revival) has been very positive. It started off with a limited West End run before embarking on tour and it is scheduled to return to the Barbican in the West End for a few more weeks to finish off. 
The show most definitely lived up to my expectations. Rodgers & Hammerstein's music is such easy listening and the scenery and the colours were all so fresh and light. I was particularly fond of the set. 

Nellie immediately rose onto the list of characters I would love to play myself. Samantha made a wonderful job of her. She has a gorgeous, shrill, very musical theatre style voice perfectly suited to Nellie. Out of her numbers I enjoyed I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair the most - it was the song which I ended up humming upon leaving the theatre. 
Samantha singing A Wonderful Guy (song starts at 1:30):

Don't even get me started on Matthew Cammelle. Well, he has played the title role in The Phantom of the Opera. Surely that automatically equals to 'amazing voice'. It is not often one comes across a voice like his; Some Enchanted Evening was pure bliss to listen to. Other special mentions go to Loretta for a hilarious portrayal of Bloody Mary and the remarkably 'together' ensemble (not only vocally but also in the dance numbers which I enjoyed immensely). 

Conclusion: I most definitely recommend for everyone to see this! I will most likely go again when it returns to London and drag my mum along. 
For more information on the show and tour dates, visit
The promotional trailer for the UK Tour (I preferred Matthew Cammelle's voice in the part of Emile to the guy's in this):


  1. This sounds like a good musical! It's in a town near me just now, I might try and catch it before it leaves.

    1. I definitely do recommend seeing it if you have the chance! I was quite surprised by how much I liked it. Such a brilliant cast as well.

  2. Matthew Cammelle chose to move from London and lived in a peaceful village. He later played Juan Peron in 2014, west end production of Evita at the Dominion Theatre, so he is not really "not famous".