RODGERS and Hammerstein’s award-winning production of The King and I delivers a standing ovation as it opens in Southampton.

Starring Annalene Beechey as Anna and Broadway’s Darren Lee as the King of Siam, The King and I delightfully captures the magic of the 1956 Oscar winning film.

The musical has one of the most memorable scores ever written that includes the likes of Shall We Dance and Whistle a Happy Tune that are beautifully performed by the ensemble cast.

The internationally renowned story follows a widowed schoolteacher – Anna – who travels from Singapore to Bangkok, having been summoned by the King of Mongkut to tutor the children of the royal palace.

Though Anna finds joy in teaching the children her biggest task is encountering the domineering king who’s consumed by tradition and in desperate need to change his image to the visiting English delegation as rumours swirl of his barbaric leadership, as the friendship between the two leads blossoms throughout the near three-hour runtime.

Though on the long side, don’t be put off as the classic musical flies by with the on-stage performance leaving the audience cheering, laughing and welling up as the magic of musical theatre has never been so mesmerising.

READ MORE: Mayflower Theatre to open UK tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Daily Echo:

It’s clear to see that Beechey and Lee are in sink with their characters as the latter toured the United States national tour of the production, with Beechey being a familiar face in the West End who previously played the iconic heroine at the London Palladium, as the pair give faultless performances that fill the theatre.

There’s always a danger that retreading over a much-loved musical that’s enjoyed popularity both on the stage and on the big screen won’t live up to expectation, but that’s not the case with this lavish production, as the 50 plus performers and full-scale orchestra produce a knockout performance that’s been brought to the stage by the acclaimed creative team under Tony Award winning director, Bartlett Sher.

The travelling company will be at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre until Saturday, June 17 in a production that’s not to be missed.