South Pacific is a major challenge, not least because of the popularity of the film. But then, the National's My Fair Lady faced a similar hurdle which it overcame spectacularly.
The word-of-mouth from rehearsals is that South Pacific is going to be huge and will vindicate both Trevor Nunn's penchant for large-scale musicals (which he has enjoyed ever since his success with Les Miserables in the 1980s) and generate some vital extra revenue for the National. So far, however, there has been no definite tie-in with a West End theatre.
The choreography, by Matthew Bourne, will be a major part of the show, and after his success with My Fair Lady he has shown that he can work in musicals as easily as in ballet and modern dance.
South Pacific has the advantages of a raft of popular songs, an exotic location, a wartime setting and the best creative talents that the National Theatre has in its armory.
—by Paul Webb Theatrenow