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Review South Pacific at Manchester Opera House

The cast of South Pacific on stage in front of the USA Flag
20 Jul 2022

The well-loved South Pacific has arrived in Manchester. We were invited along to check it out and you discover what we thought in our review here. 

The powerful love story, South Pacific has in arrived in Manchester as part of it’s UK tour. 

We asked our On The Reviewer Kevin, to check it out and you can discover what he thought below. 

Review South Pacific at Manchester Opera House

Review South Pacific Emile and neille Credit Johan PerssonPhoto Credit – Johan Persson 

As Manchester experienced temperatures creeping towards 40 degrees, what could be more perfect than being whisked away to a Polynesian island to experience the revival of the1949 all-time classic musical South Pacific.

This trip was a very long overdue date night and so of course the 7pm bedtime rituals were harder than ever and culminated in the words from our four-year-old, ‘You can go now I will just cry for the babysitter instead’. I’m not sure who I felt more guilty about leaving in that house!

As we took our seats in the stunning Manchester Opera House we were relieved to find that despite the history of the building the air conditioning seemed to be top notch and was pumping out ice cold air into the almost full auditorium.

Just a couple of minutes after 7.30pm the curtain was up and the musical composed by Richard Rodgers was underway.

Based on the 1958 film, the musical focusses on an American nurse called Nellie, who has been stationed on a South Pacific island during World War 2. Nellie falls in love with an older French plantation owner, Emile.

However on learning that Emile has two children from his late Polynesian wife, her prejudice comes to light from a previous marriage and we see the struggle Nellie has to accept them.

Review South Pacific Liat and Cable Credit Johan PerssonPhoto Credit – Johan Persson 

The musical touches on racisim throughout, with a secondary romance between a lieutenant and a local girl with whom he is very much in love but cannot bring himself to marry.

Bridgerton’s Julian Ovenden plays the leading role Emile, proving that his voice matches his amazing acting skills. Some Enchanted Evening was truly delightful to watch

Gina Beck plays a lovely Neille. She had a great stage presence and energy and a voice to match. 

Mixed with the romance and hard themes, comedy relief is brought to the stage Luther Billis played by Douggie McMeekin. His rendition of Honeybun as a hula-hula girl was a particular highlight.

Review South Pacific Ensemble Credit Johan PerssonPhoto Credit – Johan Persson 

The ensemble also deserve a mention who provide both energetic and heartfelt performances throughout. 

Even if you are new to South Pacific you are certain to recognise some of the songs, with ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair’ still bouncing around in my head. 

This updated production of South Pacific offers a lovely night of entertainment mixed with important messages. I would highly reccomend it. 

You can catch South Pacific at the Manchester Opera House until Saturday 23rd July 2022 and tickets are available here. 

Main Photo Credit – Johan Persson 

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