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SAOS again created a very creditable and enjoyable version of this old favourite.

The nuns who opened the show sang beautifully, lovely harmonies and well-balanced between the parts, which gave us a lovely platform on which to build the show.

Bobbie Chatt created a very natural and believable Maria, an accomplished performance and seemingly effortless singing voice.  Bobbie gave us lovely understanding of Maria and the sentiments required, including the expression in the music.

For me, Debbie Ellis as the Mother Abbess was a little too matter-of-fact in her characterisation, but Debbie sang really beautifully and Climb Every Mountain is always a highlight of the show.

Sisters Berthe, Sophia and Margaretta were nicely played by Jeanne Cavill, Vicky Hargreaves and Karen Thorpe.

The nuns costumes in general were not uniform - some were long, some were calf-length, so it looked a bit ragged.  I liked the way Maria’s costume change was effected on-stage, during I Have Confidence, it was slick and well-done.

It is always a shame when there are two teams of children, as the reviewer can’t see both teams, but I am assured that Team Italy were as accomplished as Team Switzerland, although perhaps musically slightly stronger. Team Switzerland were very enthusiastic with lovely expression and movement.

Rachel Timberlake was a good Liesl, and she was complemented  by Charlie Harden as Rolf.  I liked their dance break in Sixteen Going On Seventeen, simple but effective and within their capabilities, whilst the music held some different and interesting nuances. Charlie accomplished Rolf’s insecurities well.

Our introduction to the children was good, and Do-Re-Mi was both natural and charming, a lovely moment.

Amy Howey was Brigitta, the bookworm, and Niamh Carmichael was Louisa – the mid-age girls, both looked lovely and created good characters;  with George Handley as Friedrich, trying to be grown up, and Theo Collins as a very well-acted and impish Kurt.  Lydia Blatch was a charming Marta, with Sophie Stevens as an enchanting Gretl – these two young ladies as the youngest children both gave excellent performances.

The Lonely Goatherd was very lively and enjoyable.

Susan Akroyd created a nice Elsa – who interacted well with Matthew Gregory as Captain Von Trapp.  Susan was suitably aristocratic in speech and bearing.  

Matthew always creates a good character, and whilst I felt that sometimes there was not enough light and shade in Georg, it was more than made up for by having a Georg who could sing so beautifully.

David Cousins was a rather solid and all on one level Max, I missed the intricacies of the character.  Brett Tyrell’s Franz was a little too soft for a butler who is in the process of becoming a Nazi; whereas Elspeth Jackman gave the housekeeper gravitas, a very nice portrayal.  Andy McLennon as Herr Zeller, was close to Hitler in appearance, which suited the part.

The Laendler was nicely choreographed, sticking fairly closely to the original, but with some nice additional movement that enhanced it and created interest.

On the whole the costumes were good, they just needed a bit more attention to detail.

The scenery for the house and the inside of the Abbey was very good and the lighting was well thought-out.

I liked the way the German guarded the stage, using the balcony etc – however they were not terribly well-lit, and we did not feel or see the full extent of their menace.

All in all a good production, and on which I enjoyed very much, with some delightful performances, particularly from the children and Bobbie.


St. Albans Operatic Society

THE SOUND OF MUSIC” review date: 3rd May 2012 at Alban Arena, St Albans

Director: Julia Rufey   MD: Philip Joslin

Choreographer: Matt Fowler


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