I knew The King and I was a Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, but even I couldn’t believe that the film I knew as a kid is from way back in 1956! 😱 The original Rodgers & Hammerstein musical premiered on stage even earlier in 1951. 😳 That makes The King and I a seriously matured classic.
This week at Milton Keynes Theatre the classic is on stage again after a sell-out Westend run, in a production directed by Bartlett Sher.
I think I was pretty young the last time I saw the film of The King and I, but it was clear that the memories only needed a little nudge before they all came flooding back.
Set in Bangkok in 1860, we meet one very strong willed, widowed British schoolteacher, Anna, who is ready to take on the challenge of teaching the children of the very stern and stubborn King of Siam.
She’s fiercely passionate, stands up for herself, enforces her forward-thinking beliefs to the King who most people cower in fear at.
With a fab cast led by the extraordinary Annalene Beechey as Anna, this production is rich as it comes to life.
The costumes. Ahh! 😍 Let’s just take a moment to appreciate them.
Treated to not only the beautiful traditional outfits the wives of the King wear but those big meringue, bouncy ‘The King and I’ dresses that Anna wears too.
Annalene Beechey must have a dozen of dress changes during the show and each one gets more and more popping. I think I remember reading a post on Annalene Beechey’s instagram account saying one of the costume dresses cost £15k. 😱😱
What do you reckon to the big dresses? Would you wear one?
I’m definitely a girl with a heart after a big dress. I’d totes rock one for normal life, but it doesn’t look like you could fit through doorways or drive cars or even go to the bathroom on your own in one. How on earth did these women manage?! 😂
And about the story?
While The King and I touches on the mistreatment of women in the past (and while we remember we are still trying to achieve gender equality around the world today), Rodgers & Hammerstein and Bartlett Sher (but mostly the amazing strong character of Anna) manage to keep you smiling and believing, if the most stubborn of Kings can have a change of heart. Well, aww.
The King and I is at Milton Keynes Theatre 25 February – 7 March 2020
For full transparency, tickets to the show were kindly gifted to me from Milton Keynes Theatre.