mon 23/09/2019

South Pacific, Barbican Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

South Pacific, Barbican Theatre

South Pacific, Barbican Theatre

Great songs, but Rodgers and Hammerstein sink in this swampy revival

Washing that Frenchman right outta her hair: Samantha Womack's Nellie Forbush takes a shower with her fellow nursesAll photographs by Simon Annand

"Whoring after the public taste" is how Ingmar Bergman described some rather funny hanky-panky in one of his most singular films. It's what showbusiness thrives on, and it's fine if done well. Yet a decade ago Trevor Nunn crowned the National Theatre's trio of keenly observed Rodgers and Hammerstein stagings with South Pacific characters of flesh and blood, as its creators had surely envisaged. Here, despite strong delivery of a string of hits and fluid, evocatively lit designs, Bartlett Sher's Lincoln Center Theater revival too often takes us back to the Broadway whorehouse.


Thank you. Best review and most articulate one I have read. Will definitely sign-up to follow your future ones.

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.