Tuesday, 9 June 2015

"Never let her go..."

O yes, that's easy for you to say but you did, Emile, you did you fool. You let her get away and look what happened. Luckily, you got her back.

What? O yes, I'm talking about one of the greatest love stories ever, the tale of Emile and Nellie in 'South Pacific', in one of the greatest musicals ever. I saw the Broadway revival at Lincoln Centre in New York five years ago and fell in love with the show. I'd never seen it before or heard it but I knew the songs from the '60s and '70s telly shows that they featured in. And seeing them together told the story I needed to hear. I bought the cast recording on the way out of the theatre and it echoed in my head as we walked out into the snow and ice of the New York winter night and back to the hotel. I floated on a Polynesian breeze...

The production transferred to the Barbican in London in 2011 and I was there to see it again. A different stage and a different cast (other than Bloody Mary) and it was still marvellous. So I got tickets to see it again. And when it went on tour in 2012 I bought tickets to see it at Wimbledon. It was still wonderful and I bought a fridge magnet to remind me of the joy. Listening to the cast recording brings it all back. Sometimes things just click and you get it.

I love this show. I love the songs and the structure, the repetitions of the themes and phrases from the songs. It works as a complete whole with no need for a prequel or sequel. It opens with Nellie and Emile appearing after a lovely day together and we don't need to know how they met, we just know that they've discovered love. It's self-contained and I like to think of Nellie and Emile living their lives quietly in the hills of their Polynesian island, hosting occasional parties and bringing up children and grandchildren with visits to the USA now and then. Nellie would keep up to date with nursing practices in the local hospital and Emile would generate money for college scholarships for local children.

Life goes on y'know.

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