Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Theater review: South Pacific

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Theater review: South Pacific

Belk Theater

Nov. 10, 2009

The Deal: NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Broadway Lights Series continues with performances of The Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, which opened last night to a crowd at Belk Theater.

Carmen Cusack as Nellie in South Pacific; Photo by Peter Coombs
  • Carmen Cusack as Nellie in South Pacific; Photo by Peter Coombs

The Good: Sweeping the stage with theatrical talent, the cast of South Pacific shined last night. Two of the main stars of the musical David Pittsinger cast as the dreamy French man, Emilie, and Carmen Cusack cast as his "hick" love interest, a nurse named Nellie, were delightful throughout. Stretching their vocal chords out on tunes like “Some Enchanted Evening,” they hit each note to a tee, whether together or apart. Other cast members also charmed the crowd, including tragic lovebirds Lt. Joseph Cable (played by those who acted as crafty sailors aka “Seabees,” playful nurses, and charmingly strange island natives, like Bloody Mary (played by Keala Settle) who paraded around with oddities, like shrunken heads.

Keala Settle as Bloody Mary with the Seabees; Photo by Peter Coombs
  • Keala Settle as Bloody Mary with the Seabees; Photo by Peter Coombs

Excitement was in the air (hopefully no Swine flu) throughout this performance, and highlights included zappy ditties like Billis and the Seabee’s “There is Nothin’ Like A Dame,” Nellie and her back up of nurses’ “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” (Quick side note: Surprisingly, before this tune, two sailors revealed their bare asses, as they ran out of the shower stalls and across the beach.) and a group effort in the hypnotizing “Bali Ha’i.” The “Thanksgiving Follies” scene at the start of act two was full of cute bits too. All in all, the show prevailed with not only its cast in full swing, but with costumes and a variety of sets of scenery, from Emilie’s luxurious island home by the shore, to the commander’s office and the beach with numerous props for eye candy, in check.

The Bad: Not a thing. Folks who attended the show had to fight heavy traffic (from the Bobcats game at Time Warner Cable Arena), as well as crummy weather though.

The Verdict: I’m still humming along to tunes from the show. South Pacific is one of the best musicals I have seen so far. It’s high on the list with other favorites like Mamma Mia! and Chicago. With its beachy appeal, the hardships of war, cultural clashes, and struggles with love, South Pacific has a lot of heavy content that pulls you in, but nonetheless it leaves you swimmy headed with glee.

South Pacific performances continue through Nov. 15 at Belk Theater. For more information, click here.

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