REVIEW: The King and I, York Theatre Royal

John Hall and Emma Dickinson
John Hall and Emma Dickinson

It’s certainly no puzzlement why York Light Opera Company’s shows are so popular.

With stalwart leading man John Hall as the King, and Emma Dickinson as English tutor Anna Leonowens, you knew this was going to be a quality musical.

The brilliant orchestra, led by Philip Redding opened the show with the Overture, while we watched rehearsal images and credits on a projected screen.

Then, the moment we were waiting for, when the king first met the teacher.

John Hall looked every inch the strutting, arrogant king. He looked stunning in his sapphire-blue silk jacket, and was most convincing in this iconic role, later emphasising the King’s vulnerability and uncertainty.

No detail was overlooked in the sumptuous sets and kaleidoscope of costumes; the royal wives and Ting children filled the stage with their sparkling smiles and stunning outfits.

It was like revisiting an old friend hearing all those wonderful songs again; Sally Lewis playing Lady Thiang gave a sublime rendition of Something Wonderful, and John Hall and Emma Dickinson demonstrated why they had been cast in their leading roles, with A Puzzlement, Hello Young Lovers, Whistle a Happy Tune and Shall We Dance, being a few of the memorable songs sung.

The 15-minute ballet Small House of Uncle Thomas was a highlight.

It runs at York Theatre Royal until Saturday March 18, daily at 7.30pm