The King and I, Dereham

IAN CLARKE There are definite pros and cons associated with putting on such a popular show.

IAN CLARKE

There are definite pros and cons associated with putting on such a popular show. On the plus side, you know the audience will be able to follow the story and can tap along to songs such as Whistle A Happy Tune and Shall We Dance?

The obvious drawback is that theatregoers will always compare your performance with their favourite adaptation over the years featuring legends such as Yul Brynner. Saturday's opening gala night proved the company had made a wise choice for its autumn musical in picking the classic tale of English teacher Anna Leonowens taking on The King of Siam.

A virtual full house enjoyed a strong start to the week-long run of the show and it was particularly pleasing to see a cast which included performers from the age of four to others who have graced the stage at Dereham for several decades and continue to serve the society well.

Nick Bird revelled in his role as the king and Linda Campbell grew in confidence as Anna, combining the essential attributes of grace and a strong will. The pint-sized youngsters who played the king's minors were a delight and Chris Dilley, who played Lun Tha, caught the eye and seems destined for a promising future.

It was a show to warm the hearts – and the rest of the body – on a chilly evening when a bit more heat from the hall boiler would have been welcomed.

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t The King and I continues at Dereham Memorial Hall until Saturday October 19. Box office: 01362 696995.

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