When free-spirited Nun Maria is sent away from the convent to the home of Captain von Trapp to act as Governess to his 7 children she quickly sets about restoring the fun and happiness that the family have been lacking. Set in 1938 as the Nazi’s move in on Austria, there are plenty of challenges for both Maria and the von Trapp family to overcome.
The full live band coupled with an impressive set captivates the audience from the off and really helps to get them immediately involved in the storyline. This is assisted of course by the appearance of the iconic and charming Nuns that everybody remembers from the film.
The Voice finalist Lucy O’Byrne brings an authentic, loveable Maria into the home of Captain Von Trapp, played by Gray O’Brien, known for his role as Tony Gordon in Coronation Street among many other credits. Gray plays the Captain in a traditional strong authoritarian way but really brings a soft side to the character brought to our attention as the heart melting love story between him and Maria unfolds.
There is no greater part of this production than the Von Trapp Children, all 7 of them, led by the very talented young actress and singer Annie Holland (and understudied by Jude Neill who was excellent in the unusual circumstance of having to step in at the interval in this particular performance). The children bring that extra little bit of sparkle to this show, you can’t help but be in awe of the talent and professionalism in the children, some of whom look as young as 5 years old. Future stars in the making here.
The relationship between the children and Maria is a joy to watch.
One notable moment at the end of both acts is when Mother Abbess, played by the wonderful Jan Hartley, brings the house down with Climb Ev’ry Mountain. Such a challenging song requires a huge voice and Jan Hartley has it all, in fact when she stepped forward at the end of the show it commenced the well deserved standing ovation by the strong 1600 attendance.
Everybody knows The Sound of Music. Many say it’s their favourite. It’s embedded in our culture, we all know all the songs and many of us have been lucky enough to see the film and the show on stage several times. This makes the show even more difficult to stay relevant and continue to raise the bar, so that the audiences return year after year. Therefore we must give credit to an outstanding cast and production team who had a sell out audience on their feet at the end of their opening night when we saw it at The Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent.
This show is absolutely outstanding and it’s only on for one week – if you have the opportunity, book your tickets and enjoy.
The tour continues from 18th May 2016 at the Waterside Theatre Aylesbury and plays around the UK until late October.
Photography by Mark Yeoman