Thursday, 2 April 2015

Review: The Sound of Music (UK Tour) at the New Wimbledon Theatre



The Sound of Music (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st April 2015
★★★★

I have seen The Sound of Music so many times on stage and screen over the past couple of years that I feel I could jump up and step into any role if a member of the cast was taken ill. Sometimes seeing the same show produced again and again can become tiresome, but The Sound of Music never fails to warm the heart.

Martin Connor's production gives you everything you could possibly want... plus a bit more. Gary McCann's design glides from scene to scene whilst the orchestra sound absolutely incredible, particularly for a touring production. Bill Deamer's choreography livens things up a bit where possible, with his work on 'Sixteen Going On Seventeen' providing a particular highlight. 

Everyone has an opinion about how Maria 'should' be played. Interestingly we have seen some different portrayals in recent years; Charlotte Wakefield played a young and more naive Maria at the Open Air Theatre in 2013 whilst Laura Pitt Pulford played a quirkier and wiser Maria at the Leicester Curve over Christmas. Now Over The Rainbow winner Danielle Hope opts for the traditional approach. 

Fresh from playing The Narrator in Joseph on tour, Hope's vocals are impeccable whilst her bubbly presence brightens up the stage from beginning to end. At times her accent did feel a little forced, but I imagine as Hope continues to play the role her performance will develop and settle. 

I wouldn't be surprised if Hope continues to jump from one iconic role to another over the next few years; she leads the company with charm and is naturally likeable. 

Jan Hartley is a dream as Mother Abbess, I found her rendition of 'Climb Every Mountain', which concludes the first act, incredibly moving. Hartley's voice soars as she puts in her absolute all, what a performance!

Lynden Edwards (performing in place of Steven Houghton) brings humanity to his portrayal of Captain von Trapp, something many fail to do. Elsewhere the young actors who play The von Trapp children were all superstars with their vocals standing out for being particularly strong. 

It's rare to watch a musical where almost everyone in the audience knows all the words to every single song. Rodgers and Hammerstein's score features iconic number after iconic number; it really is quite remarkable and I understand why several people around me couldn't help but hum along throughout.

You can't really go wrong with The Sound of Music. If you love the story and love the score you will have a wonderful time watching this touring production.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Sound of Music runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 11th April 2015 and is currently touring the UK until Saturday 2nd January 2016. Please visit www.kenwright.com for further information, tour dates and tickets.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith

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