The Sound of Music

Date 22nd April 2022
Society West End Operatic Society
Venue Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Type of Production Musical
Director and Choreographer Martyn Knight
Musical Director Andrew Soulsby
Assistant Director Ruth Barber

Report

Author: Michael L Avery

The Sound of Music still weaves its magic, no matter how often you see it, and it still attracts a healthy audience, as witnessed by an almost full house. Everyone present was probably familiar with the story of the Austrian Von Trapp family on the eve of World War 2; of the novice nun, Maria, who becomes governess to the Captain’s seven children; of the widowed Captain’s rediscovery of his own children; and the family’s need to avoid the grip of the Nazis – with much romance, humour, tension and adventure and a memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein score

Liam Gilbert, as Captain Georg Von Trapp, certainly suits the part, recites his lines oh, so distinctly whilst performing his musical numbers credibly and movingly. He convinces as the autocratic widower early on and a loving father and husband as the story progresses. Hannah Ellis Brown is an engaging Maria, becoming the Captain’s match as her confidence grows. All her musical numbers are performed enjoyably and with conviction.

The children,this evening, were a talented little group. Lara Skye Wisby as little Gretyl did as required by stealing the show whenever she had the chance to do so but her brothers and sisters also deserve mention – Poppy Watkins (Liesl), Callum Duncan (Friedrich), Sophie Wright (Louisa), Sam Martin (Kurt), Sophie McGrogan (Brigitta) and Lily Wallace (Marta) all performed their parts engagingly. I did not see the other team of children but I’m sure they were equally impressive.

Of course, the show has another “group” – the Nuns headed by Mother Abbess (Hazel Glynn) and three amusing/musical sidekicks, Sisters Berthe (Alexandra Davison), Margaretta (Charlotte Olsberg) and Sofia (Bekki Shenfine) plus a tuneful ensemble of sisters of lesser rank. Together, they sing those difficult churchy anthems convincingly. the Mother Abbess hits all her notes, including those two high ones, beautifully in Climb Every Mountain and shares some suitably touching scenes with Maria.

The young lovers, Rolf (Reuben Elsworth) and Liesl perform attractively together singing and dancing Sixteen Going on Seventeen. Francesca Patterson is a glamourous Elsa Schrader, stiff competition for the Captain’s hand, but a good loser. David Rawlings is Max, hedging his bets between the Captain and the Nazis, whilst trying to organise a singing competition

All in all, as ever with West End, this was an impressive evening’s entertainment and the final scene with the family readying themselves to cross the Alps was as moving as ever. A very happy, entertained audience left the auditorium after the final curtain.