Musical: South Pacific May 2015   

St James Lower Hutt and the Events Centre Carterton


South Pacific is a musical, written in 1948, and deals with issues such as racism, male military isolation from women, and the impact of war on a small Pacific island.

This was to be an unstaged but the singers created cosumes. What with the odd minor prop of a glass and boar's tooth necklace, the liveliness of the singers created much of the feeling of a fully staged performance. The orchestra was on stage as well. Normally they are banished into a pit.  

The storyline ...

This centres round two couples amid a background of Seabees (Naval Construction workers.). One couple are Emile (a French planter, with children) interacting with Nellie, a nurse from conservative Arkansas, and the other are Lieutenant Joe Cable and Liat, a Tonkinese. In both cases there are racial hurdles; Nellie is bothered by the thought of mixed-race step children, and Joe is a scion of rich Philadelphia who knows a native wife would be unacceptable to his family and friends.

Well, if you saw the musical, you know that one couple go on to marry, and the other are parted by death. Adding to the background are the Seabees, including wheeling-dealing Luther, plus their commanding officers who want to be more involved in war.

From the orchestra's perspective, they dominated the stage.
Noteworthy is the cellist at right (Richard Armishaw) who is also the Seabee at right in
the next picture, and also appeared as Commander Harbison.
 Violinist Barry Mawer was another multitasking orchestra member.
Bloody Mary
Whereas Bloody Mary (Tania Dreaver) dominated the Seabees chorus.
Gonna wash that man
Fellow nurses agree Nellie (Ruth Armishaw) is "Gonna wash that man right outta my hair"
duo Bolero - Lone snare
Emile (Adam Jordan) invites Nellie to get to know a murderer better. (It's complicated)
Nellie and Luther (Jono Harris) in
 the burlesque within the show

This was a much more substantial concert than usual - two groups of artists came together, the singers under Ruth Armishaw and the orchestra under Brent Stewart. It went very well, and was enjoyed by enthusiastic audiences in Lower Hutt and Carterton.