Director Gareth Davies has produced a nostalgic treat. Rogers and Hammerstein’s songs are irresistible and the romance set against the depressing onset of the war is made all the more appealing.
Louise Walker is well cast as Maria. She soon swaps her habit for day clothes and sings a beautiful rendition of the title song. The convent set is well put together as are subsequent backdrops of the Von Trapp Villa and the abbey garden.
The children are a revelation. One of the most enjoyable scenes is Maria leading her charges through Do-Re-Mi. The youngsters’ actions, though slick, are actually improvised giving them a more spontaneous appeal.
Craig Lawton as Captain Von Trapp has a distinctive Germanic look. He comes across well as quietly introspective, stuffy and soul searching until Maria softens his heart.
Although the Captain is betrothed to Baroness Schraeder, (Ruth White) she appears to have more on-stage chemistry with Max Detweiler (Martin Peacock). Indeed they share a gleefully tongue-in-cheek song, How Can Love Survive? Maria and the Captain are not the only ones with love trouble. The eldest child, Liesl, Ellie Hudson, shares a love song, Sixteen, going on Seventeen with Rolf (Mathew Madeley) before the Third Reich destroys their innocence. Indeed the massive Nazi flags in the concert hall are still a haunting sight 67 years after the war.
Mary Newey is on good form as The Mother Abbess who sings a couple of classics, Maria and My Favourite Things with the nuns and Maria respectively. The live orchestra as always peps up the songs nicely.