Theatre Review: Oklahoma! @ Birmingham Hippodrome
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★★★☆☆ On the hottest day of the year so far, it seems nothing less than perfect for Oklahoma! to arrive at Birmingham Hippodrome - a story of boy meets girl meets boy meets girl. Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II and is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. The brand new production brings the needed charm and wit and is packed with instantly recognisable tracks including the self-titled track. All together now… Ayippeyippeeayy. Charlotte Wakefield’s principle role of Laurey, complimented with sickly Ado Annie Carnes (Lucy May Barker) bumps the production up to something worth seeing. Acknowledging that Barker was part of the original cast of Spring Awakening is far too exciting and her transition to such a show is impeccable. Though the show’s main baddie, credits must be payed to the incredible performance of Jud by Nic Greenshields; a country bum with the voice of Pavarotti. When watching such a musical, that heavily incorporates ballet and opera as expected from one of the first musicals, watching it in context and with a pinch of salt is necessary. Themes of male entitlement, female weakness and all round sexism and racism are ever so present. The show fulfils exactly what it’s supposed to do – lightly entertain – but seems a little stale now. Time to be put to sleep Oklahoma! Three Stars for Oklahoma! and a few tumble weeds.
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