The King and I Review - Congress Theatre Eastbourne
The King and I made its stage debut in 1951 and still remains one of the best musicals in history.
The Congress Theatre in Eastbourne was at capacity for it's opening night on Wednesday 13th December and the show finished with a standing ovation from the audience, which was so richly deserved.
The musical is based on the true story of widow Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher hired by the King of Siam in the 1860s to educate his many children and wives.
You can feel the tension as there's an apparent clash of cultures and personalities, as the strong-willed Anna is confronted by the equally wilful King.
They soon come to respect and admire each other in a mesmerizing relationship, although still exchange witty retorts throughout the production.
Maria Coyne, who shares the role of Anna with Helen George, and Darren Lee, as the king, both excel.
She is fiery, yet warm, while he is sharp as a pin but vulnerable.
Maria and Darren have the audience spell-bound with the show-stopping Shall We Dance.
Superb vocals and choreography are ensured under the direction of Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher.