The King and I


Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th November 2007

The Story
Charmans Chat
Characters and Cast
Musical Numbers

The Story

Anna Leonowens, a young English widow, arrives with her son Louis in Bangkok, capital of the kingdom of Siam, in the early 1860's. She has been engaged by the King to teach English and Western ideas to his family of many wives and many more children. Anna tells Louis how she will bravely face the dangers before them and indeed she doubts whether her decision to come was right. Her Western ideas quickly conflict with oriental traditions. The King's proclaiming of his belief in Western ideals does not stop him accepting a slave girl Tuptim as a gift from the King of Burma. Tuptim is repelled by him and loves Lun Tha who has escorted her to Bangkok.

Anna and the King

When Anna meets the King, her doubts turn to anger when she discovers he has chosen to forget his various promises concerning salary and particularly that he had promised her a brick house next to the palace. She is only prevented from leaving by meeting the King's enchanting children. She decides to stay; and the royal wives are keen to hear of the differences between their two cultures, and the similarity when it comes to love and family.

Ann teaching

Anna instructs the royal children, the King's wives, even sometimes the King himself. They learn of the outside world, and wonders like snow, ice, and individual freedom. The King is fascinated, yet troubled, by these ideas. Anna has meanwhile befriended Tuptim and lent her the new American novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' but she is worried that Tuptim and Lun Tha are meeting secretly.

Lady Thiang and AnnaAnna admires the King's strengths, but his stubbornness infuriates her. Lady Thiang, the King's first wife understands this and counsels patience, for she sees how much the King and Anna need each other. For all his stubbornness, pride and occasional cruelty, Lady Thiang says, he can sometimes do.

The King learns that a British diplomat is on the way to Bangkok, obviously to assess the King's hold on his country. Anna cleverly suggests that a European dinner, with all the Court in Western dress, and with a suitable entertainment would give Sir Edward Ramsay an excellent impression of an enlightened and sophisticated society - and of the King, too. The King is so impressed with 'his own idea' that he rewards the strong-willed "Mrs. Anna" with a firm promise of the brick house, as in their agreement.

The King meets Sir Edward

The dinner is a great success; Tuptim's entertainment will be her last act in Siam because Lun Tha has arranged an escape immediately afterwards, so they will be together for ever. The 'subversive' message of the ballet's story worries the King momentarily, but Sir Edward's compliments and generous endorsement of his regime give the King great satisfaction.


Anna and the King dancing the PolkaThe plan has worked. The King and Anna, alone, congratulate each other and in the mood of celebration he asks her to teach him the polka. As they dance, we see how the growing friendship is rapidly ripening into sexual attraction, but the mood is shattered when news comes that Lun Tha and Tuptim have been caught escaping. The secret police kill him, and the King, suddenly no longer a Westernised monarch, prepares to punish Tuptim with the whip. Anna upbraids him for this regression to barbarism, which has spoiled everything he has been striving to achieve. His arm falls, the whip drops, but he realises that his absolute power has evaporated and he flees the room, a broken man.

Anna realises that she has so humiliated the King that she must leave Siam, but she is stopped from embarking by a note from him - he expresses his gratitude for all she has done, but says he is dying. Shocked, she returns to the Palace and finds him on his deathbed surrounded by wives and children, who now beg Anna not to leave them. She is deeply moved and realises how much she loves them and how much they need her. The dying King commands her to take notes from his eldest son, Prince Chulalongkorn, who will be the new King. The Prince, who has learned his lessons well from Anna, announces that there will no more bowing and scraping before him, but as his father dies and all present prostrate themselves, their obeisance is not only to the dead King but to the new one.

The Kings death

Chairmans Chat

It is 41 years since HAODS last performed this show and none of the cast from 1966 are in it this time. In fact a considerable number of them have sadly passed away. Looking at the 1966 programme, only a few of the 33 children who took part are still in Horsham, the majority are spread around the world, some as far away as Australia! Mags and I are the only people from that programme who are involved in this production. I must admit that I can’t remember much about that show! I am very proud to have my granddaughters appearing on stage, which will make the third generation of my family to perform with HAODS – Oh dear this makes me feel very old…..!

We are experiencing more and more difficulty complying with the tortuous rules that govern children on the stage and I must thank Helen Hilliard our Hon Sec who has had to jump through hoops to enable the children to appear on stage. We even had to get special permission to enable them to take their bows at the end of the show. When you have seen the show I do hope you think the effort has been worthwhile.

Since our last musical here in the theatre we produced a very successful play “Love Begins at 50” which was performed here in the Studio. It played to almost full houses and even made a very small profit! We hope to make a summer play a regular part of our programme. Those of you who regularly come to our shows will see that again we have a number of new faces on stage. I am pleased to say that our membership continues to grow – unfortunately, so does the cost of putting on these shows and it takes more and more people to make it all happen. I have not counted, but well over 100 people will have been involved by the time the curtain goes down on Saturday night – my thanks to them all and to you for your support.

Characters and Cast

Nichola Shaw
Nicola Shaw

A young English widow who has been appointed governess to the children of the King of Siam. She is business-like and yet filled with a heart of compassion.

Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman

The all-knowing leader of Siam with sixty-seven children who struggles to conform with tradition yet is fascinated with Western ideas.

Lady Thiang
Judi Weaver
Judi Weaver

The King's wise and understanding chief wife.

Siobhan McMahon
Siobhan McMahon

She belongs to the King but is secretly in love with Lun Tha.

Lun tha
Damian MacDonald
Damian MacDonald

A courtier who is in love with Tuptim.

Howard Collis
Howard Collis

The stubborn and hard Prime Minister of Siam


Chris Hampton


Sir Edward
Kevin Summers
Kevin Summers

A British diplomat from Singapore who is an old flame of Anna's.

Philip Chadwell
Philip Chadwell



Liam Scott

Anna's teenage son.

Prince Chulalongkorn

Joe O’Connell

The King's son who is heir to the throne.


Becca Attfield
Elesa Bussey
Jan Critchley
Frances Douglas
Alison Shapley
Charlotte Taylor
Hazel Wellcome


Alix Chadwell
Yvonne Chadwell
Lorin Newman
Jackie Shepherd
Gill Tanner
Loraine Taylor
Tracy Woodley
Gus Fryatt
Adrian Taylor


Team Rodgers (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Evening)
Alice Attfield, Jessica Attfield, Chloe Ball, Holly Hodges, Ruby Kirton, Harriet Lovett,
Alice McMillan, Hannah McMillan, Bethan Roles, Cameron Tubb,
Michael Williams-Backshall
Team Hammerstein (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday Matinee)
Alice Bisset, Emily Bisset, Isabel Burrows, Hannah Dennett, Emily Fisher, Harriet Lovett,
Michael Rawle, Cameron Tubb, Ben Weaver, Charlotte Weaver, Michael Williams-Backshall

Review by David Briffett

IT IS 41 years since HAODS last performed The King and I and those who fondly recall Yul Brynner’s definitive portrayal will be ageing somewhat.

But it is a show that continues to sparkle, its storyline still appeals and its many enduring songs stay fresh. A musical of such ambitious scope requires many different skills and Horsham’s amateurs took on the mighty challenge with great relish and enthusiasm. The whole thing had a professional feel to it.

The oriental settings were sumptuous, the costumes stunning, the music delightful and the standard of singing a joy. A memorable night for so many things.

Success often rests on the shoulders of strong leads, and this sparkling show was brilliantly led by the extremely agile and perfectly bald Mark Freeman whose portrayal of The King simply dazzled. He was in total command as he cavorted around the stage barking out orders and delivering his lines with perfect impact.

Nicola Shaw was equally effective as Anna with delightful voice (Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You and Hello Young Lovers) and a natural acting style that brought out the stoic character of the English teacher who takes a stand against the despotic ruler, eventually bringing out his more engaging qualities. They were terrific together, especially in the electrifying finale to act one when, with wives and children, they pray to Buddha for divine intervention and again in the dramatic conclusion.

Striking moments came in abundance. The arrival of the King’s children accompanied by the orchestra’s March of the Siamese Children; enchanting duets from Damian MacDonald and Siobhan McMahon (We Kiss In A Shadow and I Have Dreamed); great acting and singing by Judi Weaver (Something Wonderful) and the superbly choreographed oriental ballet sequence The Small House of Uncle Thomas beautifully performed by a team of seven.

The company has a great depth of talent at the moment, most notably two schoolboys making their HAODS debuts, Joe O’Connell and Liam Scott, who exuded confidence and stage presence. There were also a string of reliable support roles, among them Philip Chadwell, Chris Hampton, Howard Collis, Kevin Summers, Isabel Burrows and Ruby Kirton.

There are enormous complications putting on shows of this stature. Costs continue to escalate and legislation makes it extremely difficult for children to take part. However, HAODS have accumulated unique experience over many decades and it is a great credit to them that more than 100 people were involved, with 50 appearing on stage, including a clutch of bright and enthusiastic children, the youngest of whom was just five.

The degree of commitment devoted to all aspects of this production, both backstage and up front, was clear for all to see.

I have been attending HAODS performances, on and off, since 1977 and I cannot recall a more compelling night. Watch out for them again in 2008 with Sandy Wilson’s The Boyfriend and the Gershwin musical Crazy for You, more potentially great nights out in Horsham to come.
David Briffett

Musical Numbers

Act I

I Whistle A Happy Tune - Anna, Louis
My Lord And Master - Tuptim
Hello, Young Lovers - Anna
A Puzzlement - King
Getting To Know You - Anna,Wives & Children
We Kiss In A Shadow ( Tuptim And Lun Tha)
Shall I Tell You What I Think Of You? - Anna
Something Wonderful - Lady Thiang

Act II

Western People Funny - Lady Thiang And Wives
I Have Dreamed - Lun Tha, Tuptim
Song Of The King - King
Shall We Dance? - Anna, King