For a solid day, I have wrestled with how to dig several intellectual, critical or analytical layers out of the experience that was the revival of South Pacific at The Wick Theatre.
In the end, it keeps coming back to something so obvious and simple: It’s the music, the glorious Rodgers and Hammerstein score and lyrics delivered by a talented and skilled corps of actors who plunge us into unadulterated but adult romance.
Hammerstein’s script, which reaches an excellence that few produce anymore, remains remarkable for its simultaneous simplicity and subtlety. But director Norb Joerber’s cast is only adequate in making believable the dramatic facet of cockeyed optimism battling ingrained prejudice in the name of true love.
Some of the quick emotional turns common to musical theater seem implausible, such as why Liat and Cable fall deeply in love at first sight, and, for that matter, why Arkansas hick Nellie Forbush and French expatriate planter Emile are attracted to each other. It was precisely this kind of directorial sorcery that made Bartlett Sher’s Lincoln Center revival such a triumph along with its superb musical performances.