Reviewed by David Smith
Director Barry Hill chose a traditional interpretation of this very traditional musical, and in general, it worked. The play itself presents a clash of cultures, both of them stately, in their own way.
Anna's insistence on European independence of thought and behaviour does indeed jar with the Siamese King's view of the world, despite his wish to modernise his country. The pace of the action is not hurried, and so it relies on the characterisation, particularly of the leads, to hold our interest. Selena Britz as Anna and Brad Martin as the king, achieved that. They drew out the contrasts and conflict particularly well. Martin was a splendid king, by turns imperious and self-doubting, but always engaging. Britz sang well and related well to the royal children. While the tone of her dialogue especially when challenging the king was at times a little hectoring, she sustained the character well. Their duet 'Shall We Dance' was well balanced and highlighted their coming together.
Mika Beyer was charming and empathetic as Lady Thiang, while Leah Harford and Jared Frost were well paired as the young lovers Tuptim and Lun Thar. Their duet 'We Kiss in a Shadow' was a delight. Siau-Suan Liau showed his broad experience and striking stage presence as the Kralaholme, and young Jack Raftopoulos and Noah Lane successfully extended their developing repertoires in their roles as the prince and Anna's son.
In all, the show looked, sounded and moved well, and was a worthy addition to the Met's impressive list of successes.