Saturday, March 03, 2018
Review of 'South Pacific'
And yet this is a famously anti-racist musical, with one song about how people become racist (not one that anyone knows, You've Got To Be Carefully Taught) forming the emotional and intellectual centre of the show. It was denounced at the time as 'inspired by Moscow'. The sentiments are much better than the standard liberal guff about racism. Oh, and when the original musical went on tour, Rogers and Hammerstein refused to let it play in segregated theatres.
And there's more, which rather passed me by while watching - some of the 'native' characters are not Polynesian but Vietnamese, deported to the islands to work on the French plantations. There's even a slight gesture in the direction of gender identity - while the female lead is singing a song in which she's a guy singing about her 'honeybun' girl, the guy who runs the laundry drags up for the big show within the show to entertain the troops, although we know he's brave and comfortably male.
Watched in the Common House at Springhill on a proper DVD.