Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Sound Of Music Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW

Unless you have made a concerted life-long effort to avoid it, The Sound Of Music is a film nearly everyone has grown up with through its repeated television showings and therefore its feel-good sentimentality has a quality you either hold extremely dear to your heart or just can't bear at all. Either way, The Sound Of Music is so symbiotically linked with the performance of its star Julie Andrews as Maria, that it was always going to be a wrench to watch someone else play the role. Connie Fisher proved a popular and successful choice after she won the part in the reality show 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?' and this production sees Verity Rushworth (Hairspray, Emmerdale) take on the infamous lead role.

Confidentially, at first we didn't like Verity Rushworth as Maria at all! She has a nervy-twitchy breathless quality that proved irritating at first and clashed uncomfortably with our memories of Julie Andrew's gauche but hearty joie de vivre. However, as Maria moves from the Abbey to Captain Von Trapp's villa and meets the children, she blossoms into a character of winsome and kindly innocent enthusiasm and we pretty much fall for her hook, line and sinker.

Three sets of children are used on a rota for this production, and even if you don't like kids, last night's set were adorably perfect, causing quite a bit of sniffling and eye-dabbing amongst the audience around us with their gorgeously-sweet harmonies and their exceptionally-precise marching and dancing (perkily choreographed by Arlene Phillips.)

All in all this is a spectacular and fabulously lavish production, the quality of the singing is superb, the supporting cast are excellent bar none and the sets really are extraordinary, particularly for the Abbey wedding scene (hopefully that's not too much of a spoiler!) The lurrrve story in the stage version differs slightly to the film version (to its detriment, as it's less of a love-triangle) and maybe a few things were a bit too squashed downstage, including a little-bit-too-static Something Good but these are just minor details, this is a top-class production that will make your heart sing like a lark, laugh like a brook and dance with a cream-coloured pony. Swish, sumptuous and slick, if you love the film, go running up that hill and catch this show.

The Sound Of Music is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until August 6. All booking details are available on the Nottingham Royal Centre website

If the Sound Of Music has inspired you to take up singing there are choirs in Nottingham to join at Music For Everyone

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