The hills were alive last night, as The Sound of Music celebrated a tremendous opening night at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. The classic, some might say ultimate, Rogers and Hammerstein musical shows no signs of losing its evergreen popularity, with a full house in attendance to watch the remarkable story of the Von Trapp family singers, and their escape from Nazi occupied Austria through the power of song. Although liberties have been taken with their story, the power of the telling of the tale, and the wonderful soaring songs means that the audience is totally swept away by the charm offensive. The Sound of Music is just beautiful, it is as simple as that.
Much credit must be given to the perfect cast. Lucy O’Byrne is a lovely Maria, giving the lead character all the spirit and personality the role requires, with the sweetest, crystal clear singing voice that does bring Julie Andrews to mind. She has a wonderful chemistry with the children, and also with her leading man. Andrew Lancel plays the brooding, damaged Captain Von Trapp, a role that can often seem like a thankless role, a straight man surrounded by captivating singing children and nuns, but in Lancel’s careful hands we have a charismatic turn that delivers the most emotional moment, his voice cracking with pure heartbreak during the exquisite Edelweiss.
The children are just lovely. So often The Sound of Music is characterised as being the most saccherine of Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, but the children in this revival are wonderful – funny, charming and so sweet. In particular, Anne Holland is superb as the oldest girl Liesl, perfect as a young girl on the cusp of womanhood, finding she may not need a governess, but she definitely needs a friend. Her duet with Rolf (Kane Verrall) on ‘Sixteen going on Seventeen’ is one of the highlights of the first act, youthful charm personified.
The Nuns are just brilliant, with the Mother Abbess (Jan Hartley) just stunning, especially when performing the incredible ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, and the set is almost another member of the cast, with amazing transformations that allow you to believe you are in a Cathedral, or a beautiful Austrian chateau.
The Sound of Music is a thing of beauty, a show that shouldn’t be missed.
The Sound of Music
Wednesday 5th – Saturday 8th October
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Click here for ticket information.