One sixth form in Suffolk stages The King and I
Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials this May, there’s another royal wedding closer to home as One sixth form students stage the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The King and I.
The musical - which was turned into a film, winning Yul Brynner an Oscar - runs from January 30 to February 2. It’s the story of a British school teacher, hired by the King of Siam as he tries to modernise his country.
It’s based on Margaret Landon’s novel, Anna and the King of Siam; which is based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s.
Tanya Verow, teacher of performing arts at One, said: “We’re all set and the cast is ready. This is the most ambitious show we have ever put on and people can expect an evening of fantastic acting and dancing with familiar songs surrounded by a spectacular set.
“The themes are very contemporary and if our rehearsals are anything to go by, the audience will be in for a treat.”
Asked if he’ll shave his head like Brynner, Ryan Lenny, from Ipswich, teased there was an interesting hairstyle in the design stages - but you’d have to come and watch the show to find out what it was.
“It’s weird walking into scenes and everyone starts dropping to their feet and latching onto everything I say. I guess you can see why people get enticed by that kind of power. We have a fantastic cast. I think the audience can look forward to an eastern spectacular,” added the 18-year-old, who previously starred in One’s sell out version of Rent.
New One student Erin Radley, 16, from Shotley, playing Lady Thiang, is no stranger to the stage, having performed at the Royal Albert Hall.
“It’s demanding but I love it. I want to work in performing arts in the future so this experience can only help me. There is lots of colour in this production. We have a massive dance element and iconic songs.”
Alec Castillo. 18, from Ipswich, plays Prince Chulalongkorn and said it’s the best production he’s been involved in.
“The costumes are amazing. I can’t wait for people to see it.”
Chloe Lupton, 16, of Holbrook plays Anna. She had previously been involved in Cats at high school.
“At school it was more about making sure everyone had their moment. At One, we have different rehearsal spaces for dancing, singing and acting. There is a lot more depth to it.”
One has also collaborated with Cliff Lane Primary School in Ipswich, with 11 pupils forming part of the cast.
All performances start at 7pm.