Home   What's On   News   Article

Oklahoma at Dartford Orchard Theatre review

Brimming with catchy songs and bestowed with slick choreography, Oklahoma is widely-regarded as one of the greatest feel-good musicals ever produced.

Its latest run at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford upholds its reputation in fine style, as its energetic cast clearly revel in their roles for this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.

From its signature opening song, Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, there’s a real vibrancy to the show that holds your attention right to the very closing scenes.

Oklahoma is at the Orchard Theatre until this Saturday. Picture Pamela Raith
Oklahoma is at the Orchard Theatre until this Saturday. Picture Pamela Raith

The evocative setting in early 20th century Midwestern America provides a striking backdrop for this engaging production.

Crucially, there is genuine chemistry between its two leads. Ashley Day convinces as the smooth-talking cowboy Curly vying for the affections of his love interest Laurey, ably played by Charlotte Wakefield.

Their strong vocals are well-suited for its memorable tunes including The Surrey with the Fringe On Top, People will say We’re in Love, and for the finale of its stirring title track.

There are also some notable performances from its supporting cast – including Belinda Lang, who almost steals the show with her turn as the worldly-wise aunt Eller.

The star of BBC’s Two point Four Children has some of the show’s best lines, and is a forceful presence throughout. Her role keeping an eagle eye on her feisty niece drives many of the shows best scenes.

There’s also a likeable performance from Gary Wilmot as travelling salesman Ali Hakim, displaying excellent comic timing as his ill-timed amorous adventures lead him into hot water.

While the show’s upbeat tone means there’s little room to explore the turbulence that surrounded the Indian territory of Oklahoma in its build-up to be becoming the 46th US state, its second act at least attempts to address this difficult subject in the form of The Farmer and the Cowman should be Friends.

There’s a darker edge to proceedings in the tense exchanges between Curly and the towering figure of Jud Fry. Their rivalry builds to a head with the menacing ballad Pore Jud is Daid, which you could almost image as a murderous scene from Sweeney Todd.

But the story builds to a satisfying conclusion with the fast-paced second act, which showcases the cast’s all-round singing and dancing talent.Its inventive sets, sparkling tunes and strong performances make this a great night out.

- Oklahoma is at the Orchard Theatre until Saturday. Tickets are £16-£30. visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk The show also calls at the Marlowe Theatre between 16-20 June. Visit www.marlowetheatre.com

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More