Broadway classic South Pacific has timeless quality

The ensemble cast in a scene from the musical South Pacific.
The ensemble cast in a scene from the musical South Pacific. Jeff Busby

THE cast of South Pacific brings a healthy dose of humour to Opera Australia's production of the Broadway classic.

Currently playing at Melbourne's Princess Theatre, South Pacific comes to Brisbane just after Christmas.

Set on a US Naval base during World War II, the Tony-Award winning musical centres on American nurse Nellie (Lisa McCune) who falls in love with a French plantation owner Emile (Teddy Tahu Rhodes) but struggles to accept his mixed-race children.

Eddie Perfect, who won a Helpmann Award for his performance in Shane Warne the Musical and stars in Channel 10's hit drama Offspring, is a crack-up as the irrepressible, crafty Luther Billis.

He leads the ensemble of Seabees in a rowdy and randy rendition of There Is Nothing Like A Dame and steals the scene in the Thanksgiving Follies opening of the second act.

The Offspring star's injection of physical comedy helps to balance the show's dramatic themes of racism and war.

McCune is an absolute delight as the "cockeyed optimist" Nellie and the sheer power of Rhodes' vibrato reverberates in every corner of the theatre.

The baritone probably doesn't even need a microphone for the Princess Theatre's intimate setting.

The most spine-tingling moment of the show, for me, was Kate Ceberano's soaring performance of Bali Ha'i as Bloody Mary.

South Pacific might have premiered more than 60 years ago but its songs and themes have a timeless quality to them like so many of Rodgers and Hammerstein's shows.

If you're starting to think about Christmas presents for friends and family, then this would be a great night out for any theatre lover.

South Pacific opens at QPAC's Lyric Theatre on December 27 and the strictly limited season runs through January 13.

Tickets start from $79.90 through

Topics:  musical opera australia south pacific theatre

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