The Sound of Music
3rd May 2019
Berwick-upon-Tweed Amateur Operatic Society
The Maltings, Berwick
Type of Production
Author: Michael L Avery
The Sound of Music still retains its magic and remains popular with audiences, as witnessed by a full house this evening. As most theatregoers know, it’s tells of the Austrian Von Trapp family, on the eve of World War; novice nun, Maria, who joins them as governess of seven children; the widowed Captain who is initially remote from those children; and their ultimate need to escape the Nazis – with romance and the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein en route.
Euan Duthie, as the Captain, certainly looks the part, speaks his lines with beautiful clarity and performs his musical contributions effectively. He convinces as an austere widower in early scenes and as a loving father and new husband, as the story progresses. Anna Emmins is a firecracker as Maria, clearly the Captain’s match as her confidence grows, from postulant/governess to wife/mother. She performs all her musical numbers, solo, duet or ensemble, with total conviction.
The children I saw were a talented little troupe. Isla Cornish as Gretyl does exactly what her part requires and steals the show whenever she has the opportunity but her siblings all deserve mention - Eilidh Campbell (Liesl), Corey Learmouth (Friedrich), Alice Heald (Louisa), Jamie Lawson (Kurt), Eloise Lambourn-Batley (Brigitta) and Mhairi McLeman (Marta), who all sang and played their parts engagingly.
The show features another troupe – the Nuns lead by Mother Abbess (Jacqueline Budge) and her three amusing/musical acolytes, Sisters Berthe (Dilys Guthrie), Margaretta (Aurian Fleeson) and Sofia (Alison Fergie) plus 15 sisters of lesser rank. They sing those difficult churchey anthems authentically, the Mother Abbess hits all her notes on Climb Every Mountain and her scenes with Maria are suitably moving.
The young lovers, Rolf (Matty Forster at this performance) and Liesl make an attractive couple and Rolf, as ever, redeems himself when the chips were down. They acquit themselves well, singing and dancing Sixteen Going on Seventeen. Kim Schmid is a suitably resigned loser in love as Elsa. Stuart Faed is a slightly shifty but entertaining Uncle Max and the remainder of the cast all fill their subsidiary roles well.
I’ve said nothing about the orchestra, sets, costumes, lighting but that is a good thing. All musical and technical aspects fully complement the performance on stage, helping create the enjoyable production this is. .
As I saw team Kittens (compared with Michael's team Whiskers) it seems fitting and proper to mention the youngsters I saw - Rolf (Morgan Flannigan) and Liesl (Finna Hardy) worked well together from their first heady days together as young lovers to their parting once the Nazi party took over. Finna in particular acted superbly as a young girl on the cusp of womanhood when she insisted she "didn't need a governess". The other children also were confident and moved and sang well - Friedrich (Kai Jardine), Louisa (Eloise Duthie), Kurt (Joseph Harwood), Brigitta (Evie Ryan), Marta (Grace Gillie) and the diminutive but very cute Gretyl (Annabelle Keech). Each had their own character which came out within their dialogue - well done all.