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12:17pm Friday 22nd June 2012 in Leisure
The Carriageworks, Leeds – The Sound Of Music
During the past 55 years, The Sound of Music has been revived and repackaged and brought bang into the 21st century with clever staging, lighting and some well-needed cuts making it a more vibrant and exciting show.
However, this production seems to have bypassed a makeover, sadly to its detriment, and is still firmly routed in 60s musical theatre-style, with heavy sets, predictable staging, unnecessary scene changes and unedited dialogue making it a long, slow and laboured production. How different the result could have been with minimalistic set design, imaginative lighting and a slicker distribution of the chorus to gather the pace, flow and energy this production so badly needs.
Set in Austria in the days before the Second World War, the story revolves around the Von Trapp family and a new governess from a convent, who overturns the austere family regime with her love of music.
Hannah Long, as Maria, seemed to struggle with her role during the early part of the show, but when she eventually found her character, it was a sheer delight.
As the formidable head of the house, David Collins as Cpt Von Trapp failed to be even slightly believable. He lacked the austere, arrogance and love of regimentation of a man who has spent most of his life in the navy, and in the more intimate scenes, little Eastern European charm.
An outstanding performance came from David Ward as Rolf, whilst Shirley Hoyland was a sympathetic fine-voiced mother abbess.
Although the cast battled major sound problems, like most amateur shows, from the auditorium it looked as if a good time was being had by all, which is what the amateur stage is all about.