South Pacific at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Daniel Koek as Cable and Samantha Womack as Nellie on the set of the production South Pacific
Daniel Koek as Cable and Samantha Womack as Nellie on the set of the production South Pacific
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The New York revival of Roger and Hammerstein’s South Pacific met with a welcoming applause last night as it arrived at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre.

With seven Tony awards to its name, it’s the first revival of the musical since its premiere in 1949, and with glorious sunshine and bathing suits it’s easy to get drifted away into the romanticism of far away exotic island.

South Pacific follows Ensign Nellie Forbush as she falls for a French plantation owner, only to discover that he has two children from a native woman. The musicals close examination of racial prejudice gives it a darker edge than you’d first expect.

Samantha Womack plays a startling good portrayal of the young Naval nurse, and dismisses any chances of her ever being type cast. From the murky streets of EastEnders she hits the high notes, even with a slightly giddy American accent.

Matthew Camelle commands the stage as Emile de Becque, particularly with This Nearly Was Mine, while Alex Ferns is a loveable Navy rogue as Luther Billis.

There’s good work from the supporting cast, and along with the underlying 1949 social commentary, it’s a fine production full of recognisable numbers and beautiful summery sunsets.

Until February 4.

MISCHA ALLEN