Review: Nottingham Operatic Society The Sound of Music – The Theatre Royal Nottingham

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I can never remember seeing The Sound of Music all the way through until last night’s performance by The Nottingham Operatic Society, which is definitely not one to fall asleep to.
 
The 1965 Academy Award winning film adaptation has been on TV countless times, usually at Christmas and I tend to fall asleep in a food induced coma around the time she disappears back off to the Nunnery and wake up swathed in Quality Street wrappers as they escape from the Nazis.
 
We all know the well-known numbers, in fact you probably learnt some of them at School, I know I did, Do-Re-Mi, So Long Farewell and of course My Favorite Things, one of those songs that lifts the spirits and fills you with joy. 
 
Abby Wells has the tough job of taking on the main character of Maria in this production, a role made famous by Julie Andrews in the film, so it’s natural to draw comparisons. There’s something almost cosy and autumnal about the image Maria creates for audiences as she reveals her favourite things to be “Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up in string,” thankfully Abby manages to embody all of those things in a naive, loveable way whilst giving the great Dame a run for her money in the voice stakes.  The story follows our heroine Maria, a young woman on her way to becoming a nun, until she is sent to serve as governess to the seven von Trapp children. Through her love of joy, song, and playfulness, Maria breathes life back into the von Trapp home and eventually marries the widowed Captain von Trapp.  
 
Captain Georg von Trapp himself is depicted as a hard-hearted man’s man but easily (and quickly I might add) falls for our Maria.  Something Good, sung by Maria and Captain von Trapp early in Act 2, deviates from the original Broadway production, to include the number which was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the film. Played by Christopher Plummer in the film version, I never found the Captain the strongest character but Paul Johnson brings a likeablity to his portrayal and the audience begin to really see his strength as a leader yet also a vulnerability and realness as he stands with his family at the festival toward the end of the story.
 
Whilst all the Nuns deliver immaculate harmonies. Special mention must also go to Kate Taylor for her portrayal of The Mother Abbess.  Closing the first act with  the inspiring Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” her performance is captivating and strong.
 
All the von Trapp children give fantastic performances, but tiny Poppy Fawcett as Gretl steels every scene she is in, gaining audible awws from the audience with every single line.
 
 
I remember as a kid, my Mum watching the film on TV and if I wasn’t asleep, I was fidgety.  Kids love the majority of the songs, but I could see some in the audience getting restless.  Not a reflection of the production, more the running time with it being one of the more lengthy musicals you’ll see.
 
As this is at the end of the day, an amateur production, though you’d be forgiven for forgetting, the set design is fairly basic yet still works so beautifully that along with the incredible talent on stage, you don’t miss the scenery of the film.  What hills I ask you? The set is transformed seamlessly from The Abbey  into the von Trapp home. 
 
Running at the Theatre Royal until Saturday – make sure you grab yourself a ticket to this timeless production which is guaranteed to become one of your favourite things.
For more information visit: https://trch.co.uk/whats-on/the-sound-of-music-2019/
By Tanya Louise
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