Where - Leeds Grand Theatre, Front Row (Stalls)
When - Wednesday 8th June 2011
Rating - *****5 Star
From the opening scene with the nuns singing, right to the heart rendering motif at the end, this production of 'The Sound of Music' was extraordinary!
The set and costumes (designed by Robert Jones) were beautiful and included the mountains, Nonnberg Abbey (inside and out) and the Grand Von Trapp Household (inside and out). Jones' detailed sets and costumes created a fantastic realism which enhanced the production greatly. The set changes were seamless and the staging was perfect.
Although Verity Rushworth is heading up the cast this year, I actually saw Phillipa Buxton in the role of Maria, alongside Jason Donovan as the Captain. Buxton gave an outstanding performance as Maria and took on the character wholly and charmingly, although a little different to how Julie Andrews portrayed Maria the the movie, I think she did a fantastic job.
Jason Donovan put down his native Australian accent and adorned a British one for this production which I think worked very well. I was a little nervous for him when it came to singing Edelweiss but he pulled it off beautifully, including a higher note at the end which was solid and well sung.
A few other notable performances were Marilyn Hill Smith (Mother Abbess) who's spectacular performance of 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' gave me goosebumps. She is perfectly cast and her voice was absolutely phenomenal throughout but especially during that song.
The Von Trapp children also do a fantastic job as for many of them this is their first professional role starting as young as little Gretl between 7 and 8 years old! These young actors and actresses capture your heart right from singing 'Do - Re - Mi' to escaping at the end, just as the children did in the movie. The only negative point I would make here is, although Claire Fishenden, who played Liesl, was extremely good, it was quite clear she was over 16 and did not look believable as that age. The same for Chris Barton, who played Rolf,who was quite clearly not 17 going on 18. (He is in fact 24)
The musicians sounded beautiful and all the musical numbers were indescribably good, including the ones not in the movie; 'How Can Love Survive' and 'No Way to Stop it'
The entire performance was of a very high standard including cast, set, costumes and musicians. We booked months early and paid £30 each for our front row tickets which was awesome and worth every penny! I highly recommend you make your way to a performance of 'The Sound of Music' as it tours around the UK this year.
Check out this interview with Jason Donovan!
Have you seen a theatre production of 'The Sound of Music' in the UK or else where? What did you think? Did the actress pull of Maria well? Where the children as adorable as the movie? Leave your review here! Don't forget to include where and when you saw it!
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