★★★★★ | Oklahoma! – “Funny, poignant and with music to melt both your heart and your eardrums, if you don’t go home humming the tunes then we’ll eat our Stetsons! ”

Where: Chichester Festival Theatre

Review date: Friday 19th July 2019

About the Show: 

Director Jeremy Sams gives Chichester audiences an elegant, fluid and corset-busting production of this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic. The musical that all others are said to be measured by; love-struck cowboys and farm girls trying to know their own hearts are headed for the box social – but who to accept as their date? A joyous romp with a disturbing dark thread snaking through it, Sams balances the light and shade with absolute precision.

Encore Rating Factor:

Standing Ovation: ★★★★★
Laugh-Out-Loud: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★

Our thoughts:

We saw a preview ahead of the official Press Night and can report that Oklahoma! was already match fit. The ultimate bored-by-Brexit distraction, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more perfectly executed musical revival this summer. A triple threat cast act, sing and dance as if their lives depend on it, enriching the layered story.

Bravura performances all-round, Josie Lawrence leads the pack as a wise but game old gal, Aunt Eller. Willowy and wise-cracking, it’s an accomplished performance from one of our most versatile performers.

Hyoie O’Grady as Curly and Amara Okereke as Laurey are delightful. O’Grady captures the energy, optimism and cock-sureness of a loved-up young buck perfectly (and oh boy can he sing!) and Okereke, equally in fine voice, convinces as the young girl trying to make the leap from adolescence to womanhood.

Emmanuel Kojo as troubled farmhand Jud Fry manages to be both menacing and vulnerable, while Bronté Barbé as Ado Annie, Christopher Dickins as Cord Elam, Isaac Gryn as Will Parker and Scott Karim as Ali Hakim are noteworthy comic gems.

Backed by a stupendous ensemble, all of whom embrace Matt Cole’s blistering choreography with such vigour that the floor of Robert Jones’ lush, sun-drenched set will surely need reinforcing before the end of the run, you’ll be on your own feet come to the curtain call.

Funny, poignant and with music to melt both your heart and your eardrums, if you don’t go home humming the tunes then we’ll eat our Stetsons!

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