Recently I performed Nothing Like a Dame during a concert and never having watched South Pacific, my interest was piqued.

The pleasant Kidderminster Rose was the venue for Carpet Trades Musical Theatre Company’s presentation of this show. Rehearsing Tuesday’s from late spring to October, they are on the lookout for new members to join. Founded in 1944 as an activity for employers of the carpet company of the same name, CTMTC are now open to all with a major production each year.

South Pacific – The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster – 21 October 2017

The show by Rodgers and Hammerstein is set during World War II on a Pacific Island and was made into a Hollywood movie in 1958.

The first thing to note was the use of the movie structure as opposed to the stage version. I’m in two minds about this. The writer in me hates tampering and I like how the stage show comes full circle with Dites Moi. However, I can see swapping the order to begin with Bloody Mary and There is Nothing Like a Dame makes it more dynamic.

There are many well-known songs in South Pacific and highlights for me were Honey Bun, Happy Talk and I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy. I did feel, though, the cast were not helped by only having a three-piece band. The vocalists needed support and didn’t get it while there could also have been better use of harmonies. These are all things to learn from. In addition, the dialogue at times needed speeding up. There was some choreography but not enough and while many of the cast could obviously dance, particularly Ruth Campbell as Liat, they were underused. Nice to see smiles during the dances, though.

Stand out vocals for me were provided by Sarah Richards as Nellie Forbush who excelled throughout. Also in principle roles were Zoe Darks (Bloody Mary), Nigel Preece (Emile), Alex Thompson (Cable), Chris Paine (Bilis), Stephen Day (Cpt Bracket) and Brian Potter (Harbison). South Pacific was directed by Darren Richards with musical direction from Chris Yates and choreography, Lucy Crane.

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

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