Nottingham Operatic Society’s 2019 production of The Sound Of Music is exceptionally well done on all fronts. Every single lead performer, young actor, ensemble member and orchestra player bring this gloriously evocative Rodgers and Hammerstein II musical theatre piece to life.
The classy, refined direction and choreography by Dave Partridge gives his Sound of Music a definite feel of professionalism. The show’s musical director Morven Harrison directs Nottingham Operatic Society’s fine orchestra with aplomb and finesse.
Nottingham Operatic have been very clever this year with their stylish set design that uses the illusion of quality made high archways that double as the Nonnberg Abbey cloisters and, with some dressing and minimal period furniture, smoothly turn into the Von Trapp home. When the Nazi banners cascade in the second half there is a palpable feeling of fear and loathing amongst the cast.
All of the well known songs are superbly and naturally delivered by this talented cast and Nottingham Operatic have found their perfect Maria Rainer in the gifted form of Abby Wells. Wells sings like an angel and gives us a very warm, playful, self doubting, and loving Maria who works particularly well with the Von Trapp children who are played by the Blue Team tonight. Their interactions throughout the show are delightfully heart warming. Zak Charlesworth (Rolf Gruber) and Laurel Fiddes (Liesl) capture our hearts in the Sixteen Going On Seventeen section and song.
This reviewer finds himself getting quite emotional at hearing and seeing songs like Edelweiss, The Lonely Goatherd, So Long, Farewell, and Do-Re-Mi performed, as they remind him of his own childhood and endless enjoyable hours of watching repeats of the film version on the telly.
Paul Johnson gives a solid and likeable performance as Captain Georg Von Trapp, a strict man who learns to love his children again after the death of his wife and finds unexpected love in Maria. Kate Taylor gives her Mother Abbess strong levels of character showing us the Mother Abbess as a very human personality behind the gowns of her religious office. The actresses playing and singing as the nuns are terrific.
We love Simon Theobold as the slightly camp businessman and concert organiser Max Detweiller and Louise Grantham is radiant as high class socialite Elsa Schraeder. Linda Croston is formidable as Frau Schmidt the Von Trapp housekeeper.
This is only the second production of The Sound of Music this reviewer has seen on stage. Both productions were on the Nottingham Theatre Royal stage. The first one was professional and this shining example tonight is as professional as amateur musical theatre companies get. Perfect in every way. What a show!
Photo credits: Stuart Reekie.
The Sound of Music runs at Nottingham Theatre Royal until November 2nd.
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