The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music at The Churchill Theatre
The Sound of Music is a classic musical where even putting the movie soundtrack on feels familiar and comfortable. The tour therefore has a difficult balance to strike in that it has to live up to expectations and tick all the traditional Sound of Music boxes whilst still keeping it fresh. Luckily for this tour it does this and more.
The Sound of Music tells of Maria, a woman who during her training in the convent is sent out to be a nanny for the strict Captain Von Trapp and his 7 children. Maria brings music and love back into the home but the love wasn’t always where she was expecting it. Set against the background of the German invasion of Austria, The Sound of Music shows that love can bloom even in the most unexpected times and places.
This is a high quality production of The Sound of Music and as soon as the live orchestra start and the set for the first scene is revealed this becomes very apparent. The arches of the abbey are huge and the set well designed to make the stage itself appear vast. As the show goes on each set is impressive, from the vast staircase in the Von Trapp Household to on stage at the Kaltzberg Music Festival. This has to be one of the most lavish sets I have seen in a touring production and it is put to good use in this show.
Of course whilst the set is important the most important piece of The Sound of Music jigsaw is Maria. Lucy O’Byrne fills the shoes of this role and she did so with bundles of character and a beautiful voice to boot. You can’t help but warm to O’Byrne as Maria and easily understand with her portrayal how both the children and the Captain himself fall in love with the governess.
Another highlight in the cast was Katie Sherman as Liesl whose soprano tones set off all of the children’s numbers beautifully. Her duet with Rolf, ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ was not only tenderly sung but danced well and choreographed by Bill Deamer imaginatively. The rest of the children were also suitably charming and their voices blended together smoothly. They all fitted into their roles well with Gretel getting the ahhhh factor and Brigitta being outspoken and truthful.
Unfortunately I wasn’t taken by Neil McDermott’s portrayal of Captain Von Trapp. His acting was often wooden with odd initiation, meaning I often felt that Brigitta was able to read more between the lines than I was! Megan Llewellyn was our Mother Abbess and she was wonderfully warm, although personally her voice had a bit too much vibrato for my liking.
Having a live orchestra there really helped this show stand out from many of the other tours I have seen recently. The sound balance between the orchestra and the vocals was well designed meaning I was able to fully appreciate the nuns stunning harmonies in some of the latin numbers. David Steadman as the Production Musical Director deserves plaudits for this show in successfully delivering on a orchestrally and vocally strong version of The Sound of Music.
I was concerned that knowing the story and songs so well I may find the show a little dull. This concern was entirely unfounded due to a combination of a wonderful leading lady, 7 remarkably talented children supporting her, stunning set designs and a wonderful sound. You may think you have seen The Sound of Music and that there is no need to see it again but with this tour doing the rounds I would urge you to see it and enjoy it, again….and again.
To book tickets and see what else is on at the Churchill Theatre visit their website.