THE HILLS ARE ALIVE

Liz Coggins reviews The Sound of Music

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE

Even after over 50 years the sugar sweet story of the young nun who becomes governess to the seven children of a stern naval officer still attracts capacity audiences.

Yes, The Sound of Music is back on tour with a paired down ‘budget’ production.
Like all sectors the theatre has had to tighten its belt. Actors have to multi-task but there is a limit as to just how many nips and tucks can be made without a production losing some its credibility and ethos no matter how hard its cast work.

This new production is slow paced and fails to ignite any spark of freshness with tired looking sets, cameo roles that are utterly unconvincing and an overworked tiny ensemble that can only produce two storm troopers to stop the Von Trapp family escape. Even the wardrobe needs some tender loving care along with the ill fitting wigs and hideously crumpled suits!

Despite its pitfalls there are some excellent performances. Lucy O’Byrne puts her own stamp on Maria. She’s a full of fun, impish, innocent and spirited with not a trace of Julie Andrews in sight!

Jan Hardy’s Mother Abbess is sympathetic and from the heart with her Climb Every Mountain being the vocal highlight of the show. Hardy is aided and abetted with a talented trio of sisters in Zoe Ann Bown(Sister Margretta), Kate Scott (Sister Berthe) and Tammy Davis (Sister Sophie) whose characterizations are a joy to watch and listen to.

As the formidable head of the household, Captain Von Trapp, Gray O’Brien just fails come over as the strong, arrogant, disciplinarian with a love of regimentation but as the show progresses his emotions and passion are just as they should be and he injects some wonderful pathos into the closing moments.

Duncan Smith’s, Uncle Max certainly injects some well needed pace and life into the proceedings whilst Isla Carter’s Elsa Schraeder needs a little more finesse and believability. Hopefully the wig department will raise its game too and provide Miss Carter with a wig cap or make sure her own hair is not showing at the base of the wig.

With a well drilled group of children and an over-worked ensemble, despite its pitfalls, this show will continue to weave its magic over the school holiday period and beyond.

Runs until 20 February at The Alhambra Theatre Bradford

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