Gallery/Woodbridge: Company of Four set sail for South Pacific

Company of Four stage South Pacific. Nellie and Emile

Company of Four stage South Pacific. Nellie and Emile - Credit: Archant

Like father, like son. A little bit of history will be made when David Crane steps on stage as Seabee Luther Billis in the Company of Four’s forthcoming South Pacific.

His dad, Michael, himself an established performer and director played the same part in the company’s last production of South Pacific at the Ipswich Regent.

“I believe we may be the only family to have played the same role in the same show for the same company which is absolutely brilliant. It’s a great part to play, with plenty of comedy moments but with an underlying,” says David, who’s acted with the company since he was 11.

Billis is known for his very large ship tattoo which takes pride of place across his stomach. The company’s artistic director David Wright was asked if could reprise his role from 20 years ago and is once again responsible for the tattoo for this year’s show on David.

Set during the Second World War, it’s the story of an American nurse who falls for a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. There’s also the romance, between a young Tonkinese woman and a US lieutenant who fears what will happen if he marries her.

Never performed in Woodbridge, the show also marks the 20th anniversary since the company first staged it at Ipswich Regent.

It’s been a sentimental process; not only does the cast include people who were part of the 1994 version, some have come out of retirement to appear in what will be director David Caddick’s last production for the company before he leaves for pastures new in Europe.

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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, featuring I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa my Hair, Nothing Like a Dame and Some Enchanted Evening, runs at Woodbridge’s Riverside Theatre from July 1-5.