It’s one of the best loved musicals of all time so there’s sure to be people ready to pick fault had the local ensemble not done it justice. But with fantastic acting, fine singing and effective scenery they certainly did Julie Andrews and co proud.
Things couldn’t have got off to a better start with the wall of sound provided by the nuns chorus, led by Maureen Gillie as Mother Abbess.
Maureen was last seen as a loud-mouthed Glaswegian washerwoman in ‘The Steamie’ but she supplied the composure, decorum and angelic voice her latest role required in abundance.
Whenever she and her fellow nuns broke into song, goosebumps rushed through the audience.
No stranger to leading lady status, Lyn Manderson was given top billing again as flighty nun Maria Rainer and once again she justified her place at the top of the cast list. Like the variety group themselves, Lyn has put in some fantastic performances in the last few years and whether it was in up tempo numbers such as ‘I Have Confidence’ or the more subdued ‘Something Good’ she continued her impressive trend.
She was at her best when united with the equally talented Von Trapp children. You just have to have been to a variety group panto in the past few years to know the town is blessed with some talented youngsters.
The six who were the Von Trapps on opening night- Carly Robertson, Jack Ritchie, Erin Robertson, Archie Bogle, Cara Heary, Hannah Combe and Emma McEwen, set the bar high for those who followed them with Carly Robertson putting in a mature and pitch perfect turn as Leisel, particularly when collaborating with Jonathan Combe as Rolf.
Numbers like ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ required enthusiasm and enthusiasm was exactly what the youngsters gave them and I’m sure it was status quo when the second team of Von Trapps took to the stage the following night.
As their father, Captain Von Trapp, Raymond Williams set a fine example. As the role dictated he was quite hard faced but with a softer interior which came to the fore in the touching ‘Edelweiss’ and his scenes with Lyn.
However, Maria wasn’t the only woman in Von Trapp’s life. Step forward Elsa Schraeder, played by Geraldine Skelly.
More commonly seen performing on the other side of the border, Geraldine made a fine impression on those who hadn’t seen her before.
Elsa was a lady of style and sophistication and from the poise she portrayed to her refined vocals , Geraldine was the ideal fit.
Another of ‘The Steamie’ alumni, Jim Watt, was also in fine form as her confidant Max with the pair duetting to great effect on ‘How Can Love Survive’ and ‘No Way To Stop It’.
As with many a Rogers & Hammerstein musical, ‘The Sound of Music’ is blessed with an amazing but demanding score, so well done to vocal coach Gilly Peakman for getting the best out of the cast and making numbers such as ‘Gadeamus Domino’ and ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ real tour de forces, not easy given the demanding score.
Unfortunately with a large cast list and space constraints, it isn’t possible to heap praise on everyone by name so I award a standing ovation and hearty applause to co-producers Pauline and Andrea and everyone involved both on stage and backstage. This ‘Sound of Music’ is one I’d happily lend my ear to again.