Rant and Rave: The King and I

Rating: 3.5

What happens when a Broadway musical and an all-star Filipino cast are thrown in together? An absolutely sensational performance, I have to say. Despite stiff competition from the other Broadway show The Phantom of the Opera, The King & I has definitely held its own in a stage as large as the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila. In fact, all its Friday and Saturday sessions are sold out as of press time, highlighting its fame all the more.

The King & I is a story close to the Filipino mindset, as it tackles the many comparisons of Eastern and Western cultures. West End veteran Leo Tavarro Valdez was extremely effective in his role as the King of Siam, as his stubbornness and redundancy with the word “etc.” made the audience loathe his obnoxious personality. Meanwhile, Monique Wilson, another well-known Filipina theater actress, wowed the crowd as Anna Leonowens, the English schoolteacher who opposed the dictates and conservative beliefs of the King. This is an incredibly powerful play, and the exceptional performances of the supporting cast, namely Gina Respall (Lady Thiang), Tanya Manalang (Tuptim), and Lorenz Martinez (Lun Tha) were testament to that. Truthfully, though, the play would be lacking in comic relief without the cute children who endeared themselves to the audiences’ hearts.

All in all, The King and I was extraordinary. The stage and set were fit for a King, as were the Rajo Laurel made costumes and makeup of the cast members, which were imbued with a Thai touch. It was a grand showcase not only of Filipino talent and skill, but also of the flexibility of the Filipino culture in learning about new cultures.

Stephanie Tan

By Stephanie Tan

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