The Sound of Music is a classic Rogers & Hammerstein musical, a heartwarming and simultaneously heartbreaking story about a family standing for what they believe in.
Having been sent from the Abbey, Maria starts life as a Governess to the seven Von Trapp children. She soon realises the grieving and seemingly cold Captain von Trapp simply needs to find love again… and she’s just the person to do it.
Meanwhile, the stubborn Captain von Trapp refuses to join the Third Reich regime, causing him endless problems with friends, acquaintances and neighbours. What matters to him most – his country, his family or his principles?
It’s a fairly simple plot that relies heavily on your love for the main characters and Maria’s connection with the children. Each of the seven children are simple adorable, and perform beautifully. Emilie Fleming as Maria has an incredibly impressive vocal range and solid performance skills, but lacks any whimsical, magical quality that makes Maria such a special character. Her connection with the children is quite corporate, which seems a little disingenuous. Andrew Lancel as Capitain von Trapp is superb – cold and militant with an untapped river of love and understanding.
The supporting cast are all fantastic, too. Clelia Murphy as Elsa Schraeder plays the part with a flirtatious, minxy twinkle and each of the Sisters are enjoyable to watch.
Each of the songs in the musical are fantastic, there’s no doubting that, so the production sails along in a whiz of well-choreographed, slick performances of some of the best musical theatre songs in history. There are subtle but poignant moments of darkness in the piece relating to the Third Reich. For example, the storyline involving Liesl’s boyfriend Rolf really brings the terrible reality of the times to life. Michael Anderson as Rolf is fantastic, with his choreography gloriously bringing out every element of his character. Bill Deamer’s choreography throughout is sublime – it’s never overbearing yet commands the audience’s full attention.
The extravagant set designed by Gary McCann brings the production to life. We really are in the Abbey. We really are in the Von Trapp household. We are part of these character’s stories from the very beginning right through to the tearjerking ending.
The show is simply sublime, and a must-see for any theatre fan. Catch The Sound of Music at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, until 29th February.