Bartlett Sher’s production brings the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to the West End. But what have critics had to say about it? 

The King and I

The Guardian: *** “Bartlett Sher’s much-lauded Lincoln Center production is handsomely mounted and boasts two star performances from Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe but, in addressing the musical’s dated premise, it creates further problems. **** “Would I recommend this show? Yes, but I would ask people in the audience to know the story before you go because with Watanabe’s thick accent I felt some of the story was lost.”

The Independent: **** “Sher’s production gives deep pleasure and will make you think twice about patronising this show in future. Shall we dance? Stupid not to.”

London Theatre1: **** ” This is no radical reinterpretation of this musical. But it retains a rich vibrancy and energy, with a stronger emphasis on the characters than on the ongoing political situation at the time (though ever-encroaching colonialism seldom strays too far from the King’s thoughts).”

WhatsOnStage: **** “Shall we dance? If Bartlett Sher’s glorious revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth musical does anything, it dances. Glinting and gliding, it waltzes glamorously across the huge Palladium stage with effortless grace.” **** 1/2 “The King and I is an immense piece of work, and to see a grand production in a great theatre, you could not do better than this at the Palladium.”

The Times: **** “Kelli O’Hara does not just play Anna, she owns the part. Her voice is crystal, Julie Andrews perfect, and as she sings her first song, that really rather irritating Whistle a Happy Tune, you just melt into this revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1951 musical. ”

Time Out: *** “O’Hara’s tones as Anna are just exquisitely detailed, cascades of perfectly precise, bell-clear sound that make even the overfamiliar ‘Getting to Know You’ sound beautifully fresh. Watanabe is not a technically adept singer by any stretch of the imagination, but in many respects he runs off with the show; boisterous and amusing as a hearty, eccentric man-child, incapable of escaping his kingship, but able to laugh about it to a point.”

The Telegraph: **** “Can you love The King and I wholly and unreservedly? I don’t think it’s getting too absurdly politically correct to suggest that it ranks as one of the most problematic musicals of the 20th century American canon.”

Carn’s Theatre Passion: ***** “This production is a sublimely exquisite staging of a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein show.”

British ***** “This production of The King and I is the Rolls Royce of theatrical revivals.”

Broadway World: **** ” O’Hara is radiance personified, with an excellent sense of comedy to boot – an enchanting performance indeed.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “Sher elicits performances that are imbued with nuance where previous Rodgers and Hammerstein productions may have concentrated on spectacle alone. When combined with the sumptuous score which fills the Palladium, The King and I brings back a huge amount of old-style musical glamour to remind us all why this genre can be so magical.”

Evening Standard: **** ” it’s O’Hara’s soaring soprano that keeps the show afloat for nearly three hours, bringing a delicious freshness to oh-so-familiar numbers such as Getting To Know You and Shall We Dance?”

The King and I continues to play at the London Palladium until the 29th September.To book tickets click here or visit: See Tickets,, Love, Last, Theatre Tickets, Encore Tickets or From the Box Office.