The songs from South Pacific have been part of my life since in childhood; I saw the blockbuster film that made the wartime love story one of the biggest hits of all time.
One of the great problems for a local operatic society is to somehow capture the magic of that marvellous film on stage and whenever I have seen the stage show, I have come away disappointed.
Not so this time,I thought the local group under the direction of Maggie Barder did the musical proud.
The star was undoubtedly Trudie Jackson in her portrayal of Nellie Forbush.
She brought charm, vigour and a lovely voice to her portrayal of the American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II, who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner.
Emile de Beque was acted superbly by Andrew Dawson, though his vocal range was stretched by some of the songs.
And what songs there are in this show - from ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ by de Beque to ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair’ from Nellie.
The two rousing men’s songs - ‘Bloody Mary’ and ‘There is Nothing Like a Dame’- were sung with great gusto by the outstanding mail chorus.
The show’s great strength is that from start to finish it is full of lilting well-known songs.
The secondary romance, between a US Lieutenant Joe Cable played by Ashley Bateson and a young Tonkinese woman has a tragic ending, when Cable dies behind enemy lines.
This 2013 show was one of the best from the society in recent years and one of its present strengths is the ability to attract youngsters on stage.
Two children, Keelie Barnes and Toby Godwin, made confident debuts as the children of de Beque.
The comic role of Luther Billis was in the capable hands of Dave Arrand.
Congratulations and thanks are due to the producer and also to Simon Percy as Musical Director for a splendid production.