On Wednesday 26th May, I went to see the UK touring production of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.
The musical tells the story of Maria Rainer, a nun who just wants to sing. She is then sent away to be a governess to the Von Trapps, a family of seven children.
The leading role of Maria was played by Danielle Hope, an actress who made her name in 2010 on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s talent show Over the Rainbow, where she won the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. If I had not have known better, I would have said that it was Julie Andrews herself up on that stage, Hope’s dialect was spot on and she managed to maintain it throughout the entirety of the show. I saw her last year in the touring version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as the Narrator, where, again, she shone, and seeing her in a very different role was very interesting and proves that she is highly capable of playing an array of different character-types. She played the role outstandingly, with all the quirkiness, bubbliness, fun and warmth of the character, making it impossible not to love her.
Captain Von Trapp was understudied by Lynden Edwards, who portrayed Von Trapp as stubborn, yet comedic in places, however most importantly as a man who simply wanted to be able to love his family as he had before he lost his wife. The quality of his vocals were phenomenal, they were highly rich in emotion and power, which of course is required in such a well-established role. For an understudy, Edwards did a fantastic job of the role and he could easily have been mistaken as the main actor who plays the role – a fantastic performance.
Jan Hartley as the Mother Abbess is another actor who deserves a lot of credit and because she is not a particularly well-known name within the same category as the likes of Danielle Hope, is vastly underrated. She was wonderful in her role and took on this wise, motherly character with everything in her capabilities. This kind of character can be very tricky to get right and occasionally comes across as (unintentionally) patronising if the balance of qualities is not quite right, however, in Hartley’s portrayal, this was not the case. In addition to this, her soprano vocals were spectacular and shone particularly in Climb Every Mountain, sending shivers down the spine of many audience members, I am sure.
All-in-all, this touring production of a classic musical is a must-see for fans of all ages. There is something in it for everyone – romance, comedy and beautiful songs all come together in such a spectacular fashion, making it a joyous evening out for all the family.