Oklahoma! was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s very first musical. Fast forward some 70 years later and it’s currently enjoying a revival with Rachel Kavanaugh’s touring production.
There’s still an infectious charm about it,folksy and sentimental, full of vitality and eloquence; it more than matches the 1944 film version.
Ashley Day is well suited to the pioneer life as Curly, belting out the numbers with ease. His childhood sweetheart Laurey (Charlotte Wakefield ) has such sweetness and spirit that a better Laurey cannot be imagined.
All this syrupy saccharine can be overly sickly but it’s nicely balanced by brooding bad boy Jud, played by Nic Greenshields. Belinda Lang makes a feisty Aunt Eller and is an unmitigated joy, completely stealing the show.
Choreography is sharp,fresh and full of energy. The dancing boys and girls in colourful costumes leaping over haystacks are as lithe as reeds and the cleverly built set sucks you in with its prairie skies,fleecy clouds and enough sunshine to damage the ozone even more.
With an orchestra under the direction of Stephen Ridley, I can guarantee you will be singing the songs all the way home and into next week.