The King and I is a right royal show

Hawick Amateur Operatic Society

Hawick Amateur Operatic SocietyMale chorus and dancers for ballet: Jonathan Ellis, Robert Goldie, Harry Lightfoot, Craig Neilson, Steve Brown, Steve Tracey, Fran Barker, Iain Scott, Des Devine.

YOU may have watched it on the silver screen, in the comfort of your own home on television or video, or sat through the stage show, writes JOHN SLORANCE.

Chances are, however, that no matter where or when, at some time or other, you have taken in the popular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I .

The tale of an Englishwoman going to Siam as a schoolteachear to the Royal Court in the 1860s is known internationally, and has stood the test of time since its first performace on the New York St James Theatre stage way back in 1951.

The show s great all-round appeal has been witnessed in the grey auld toon itself this week, with audiences flocking to the Town Hall to see the Hawick Amateur Operatic Society s production. And they have not left disappointed, as the Hawick company have made it a royal occasion, through a royal performance.

On the throne, behind the scenes, producer Jean Wintrope rules supreme and her entire cast and production team duly emerge as jewels in her crown in a real musical masterpiece.

First rate performances, splendid chorus work, colourful dancing, dazzling costumes and lavish settings all unfold on the Hawick stage in a production to remember.

Helping make the show a memorable affair is Mike Cound who is simply majestic as the King of Siam.

From the top of his shaven head to his barefooted little toe he puts everything into his very demanding role.

Strutting across the stage with great arrogance he gets matters just right as the stubborn demanding monarch.

Apart from his spot-on mannerisms and excellent acting ability he also shows his singing talents, especially in performing A Puzzlement .

They say behind every man there is a good woman, and this is certainly the case in the Hawick show.

Sharing the plaudits with Mike is his real-life wife Sasha who also hits the hight spots as schoolteacher Anna Leonowens. With a flawless English accent she captures the mood of her part with a refreshing naturalness and as a result you really believe in her character.

Her five-star performance does not stop there though as she emerges a delight in her singing of such numbers as I Whistle a Happy Tune , Hello Young Lovers , Getting to Know You , Shall I Tell You what I Think of You and Shall We Dance .

Another feature of the Counds treasured showing is when they perform the polka in Shall We Dance as well as getting together for Song of The King .

Playing a completely different role from the gun-firing Calamity Jane she portrayed with such conviction in last year s production, Lyndsey McCredie shows she still is a class act with her portrayal of Tuptim.

Shining in all that she does, her rendering of My Lord And Master and The Small House of Uncle Thomas in particular are impressive.

Besides this she teams up with Town Hall audience favourite Stuart Gibson (Lun Tha) as the ill-fated young lovers in their duet numbers Incidental and Hello Young Lovers .

Craig McCredie emerges as highly convincing in his polished showing of the King s eldest son Prince Chulalongkorn, while a star is born in 11-year-old Stuart Mitchell who catches the eye in his stage debut as Anna Leonowens son, Louis.

As Lady Thiang, Deborah Lyons features highly each time she graces the stage, and holds the audience completely when singing Something Wonderful and Western People Funny .

Frank Barker (Captain Orton), Iain Scott (Phra Alack), Steve Brown (The Kralahome), Steve Treacey (Sir Edward Ramsey), Lana Torrie (Princess Ying Yaowlak) are also well to the fore in their respective roles.

Another feature of the show is the many young children involved. From the tallest to the tiniest tot, they all play their parts to the full. From their every movement to their singing they capture the hearts of the hall and a little more besides. This shows Hawick has a lot of young talent on offer.

Under the guidance of choreographer Rhona Clelland and dance mistress Kerry Cumming the dancing is in the top bracket.

The Small House of Uncle Thomas featuring Anne Clark, Kerry Cumming, Lesley Fraser, Gillian Paterson, Tanya Slorance, and Leanne Stormont, is something of a show stopper in its own right, being both stunning and compelling.

With musical director David Mackay, conductor Chris Achenbach and a full orchestra supplying the music The King and I certainly has a lot going for it.

Two of its numbers Getting to Know You and Shall We Dance perhaps sum it all up for the audience. For thanks to the work of the cast, one got to feel that you did get to know everybody, as well as having a dance with them.

The cast - Frank Barker, Stuart Mitchell, Sasha Cound, Iain Scott, Steve Brown, Mike Cound, Lydnsey McCredie, Deborah Lyons, Craig McCredie, Stuart Gibson, Steve Treacey, Lana Torrie, Louise MacKay.

Ladies Chorus - Moira Boyd, Norma Harkness, Margaret Horne, Susan Patterson, Shelagh Renwick, Alison Seeley, Margaret Slorance, Maureen Slorance, Rita Storrie.

Male Chorus and dancers for ballet - Jonathan Ellis, Robert Goldie, Harry Lightfoot, Craig Neilson, Steve Brown, Craig McCredie, Stuart Gibson, Iain Scott, Des Devine.

Dancers - Anne Clark, Kerry Cumming, Lesley Fraser, Gillian Paterson, Tanya Slorance, Leanne Stormont.

Children - Annabelle Clark, Angela Crosby, Kirsty Cumming, Emma Elliot-Walker, Victoria Gillies, Lyn Reid, Rhianna Graham, Adam Hall, Rachel Inglis, Lynsey McFarlane, Tara Moore, Andrew McKean, Louise McLeod, Ross Mitchell, Lois Niblo, Samantha Nichol, Natalie Paterson, Emily Rafferty, Mandy Rayner, Steven Rayner, Owen Solley, Louise McKay.

Wardrobe - Patricia Adam, Letta Dalgliesh, Alison Seeley.

Stage Manager - David Renwick.

Stage Crew - Jim Wallace, Dougie Anderson, Rob Duncan, Findlay Adam, Kenneth McGaughey, Rob McKean.

Lighting - Andrew Smith, Brian Thomson.

Sound - Bill Abbott, Colin Blaikie, Derek Blaikie.

Properties - Linda Ness, Angela Matthews, Kirstin Law.

Make-up - Margaret Spalding, Norma Harkness, Ann Inglis.

Hairdresser - Mary Blacklock.

Prompt - Etta McKean.

Front of the House - Margaret McCraw, Bill Robson, Andy Gaston, Peter Horne, Anne Fraser, George Storie, Alison Ford, Jack Murray, Jimmy Anderson.