The Sound of Music

Date 31st October 2019
Society Nottingham Operatic Society
Venue Theatre Royal Nottingham
Type of Production Musical
Director Dave Partridge
Musical Director Morven Harrison
Choreographer Dave Partridge


Author: Martin Holtom

Although The Sound of Music is one of the all time most successful Musicals on both stage and film with, in some cases, an almost maniacal following, it has in the past left me rather cold with somewhat mechanical lacklustre productions.   However, this was very far from the case with the excellent production by Nottingham Operatic tonight.

From the very first bars of the overture I realised that this was going to high quality production as Morven led her very talented on-stage orchestra with great sensitivity to the score.  Indeed throughout the night the balance she maintained between the orchestration and vocal performances set the foundation for the overall experience.

First and foremost, any production of The Sound of Music stands or falls on the success of the casting of Maria and the Children and tonight Abbey Wells and the Green Team of Laurel Fiddes, Daniel Lane, Evie Midgley, Harrison Ince, Felicity Holman, Isabella Gallagher and Grace Hindle exploded onto the stage with enthusiasm, energy and significant vocal and acting skills.   Abbey’s portrayal was exceptionally well judged and was at all times believable, from her early days as a nervous postulant, to the conclusion leading her children from Nazi occupied Austria over the mountains.

Kate Taylor, Fiona McHugh, Alison Hope and the whole chorus of Nuns managed to avoid all the clichés that could have detracted from their scenes and provided great vocal support and leadership in such classics as “Maria” and of course “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” which closed Act 1 with great effect.

Paul Johnson played Captain Von Trapp with a great blend of understatement and strength and brought out the light and shade of the head of the family from the outset.  This was a refreshing change from the typical characterisation that switches too rapidly from draconian patriarch to gentle husband making this one of the most believable Captain von Trapp’s I have seen.

Zak Charlesworth was on great form as Rolf both vocally and also in his acting where he manged to portray how even the most gentle individual can be led astray by “mob mentality” but who still, at the crunch, does the right thing.

The supporting principals, Nuns, Novices, Postulants, Neighbours, German Soldiers and Contestants at the festival concert all provided great supporting performances that added to the overall professional delivery of the Production.  Sound and Lighting were impeccable throughout as was the rapid scene changes from the backstage team.  The set was at all times effective as were the excellent costumes.

It was a very enjoyable, energy driven production which is a great testament to the work of Dave Partridge as both Director and Choreographer. Many congratulations.   

Martin Holtom