Review: The King and I (Scarborough Music Theatre)

An impressive vocal cast does wonders to Scarborough Music Theatre’s production of The King and I

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I at the Scarborough Village Theatre hits all the right notes. It’s no surprise that this colourful cast, made up of many kids who were dancing past bedtime, received a standing ovation.

In this 1860s story, British schoolteacher Anna (formidable Laurie Hurst) is tasked with educating the many children of the King of Siam (Richard Kwong). Anna and the King never let us down, singing their way through extreme cultural differences and making us laugh along the way.

The arena-type theatre worked well as we were up close and personal with the actors at every moment. Every seat was a good one, as long as the actors allowed us to see enough of their faces.

The best part of The King and I: Anna’s songs. They made us marvel from beginning to end. I particularly enjoyed “I Whistle a Happy Tune” which included her son Louis (outstanding sixth-grader Margot Larivière). This brought back memories of “My Favourite Things” from The Sound of Music. Once I heard their first song, I knew I was in for a treat.

Singing compliments should also go to Lun Tha (Jason Nunez) who has a voice you could fall in love with, as demonstrated in “We Kiss in a Shadow.” His duet with Tuptim (Olivia Jon) sent shivers down my spine. Their song, executed with passion and longing, made us root madly for this unlucky duo–love must triumph over all!

Like me, my theatre friend highly enjoyed the play. She thought the King was endearing, the kids were talented, focused and downright adorable, and the lighting successfully set the different moods. However, she also pointed out the colonial nature of the story: the backwards Asian (who has a reputation for being a barbarian) requires British enlightenment. He needs someone from the western world to teach him life skills and concepts from proper manners to gender equality.

The only thing that bothered me about this musical were the microphone issues that became even more annoying in the second half. It seemed like the microphones kept going on and off for one or two of the male actors, startling me every time they started working again.

But all in all, I recommend seeing this impressive production of The King and I.

Details

  • The The King and I plays through November 15 at the Scarborough Village Theatre (3600 Kingston Road)
  • Remaining performances will take place November 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and November 15 at 2 p.m.
  • Regular tickets are $27. Tickets for seniors and students are $25. Student rush tickets are $10.
  • Buy tickets by calling the box office, ordering online or paying at the door.

Photo of Laurie Hurst and Richard Kwong by Raph Nogal.

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