She prefers posh parties to puppet shows. She gets a love rival sacked from her job. Worst of all, she doesn't like children. No wonder Baroness Elsa Schraeder is the one character fans of The Sound of Music love to hate!
"But I think she's just misunderstood," laughs Kirsty Kingham, the real-life mum-of-two who's playing the role of the Baroness in Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society's production of the evergreen musical. "Look at it this way. She meets the handsome widower Captain Von Trapp, she brings some fun back into his life and they get engaged."
"Then this nun Maria comes along and teaches his annoying children how to sing. The Captain falls completely in love with her and the Baroness can't compete. I think the audience should feel sorry for her, actually!"
The Baroness may resent the way Maria brings music into the Von Trapp household, but Kirsty herself has a beautiful soprano voice, as heard in her previous BATS lead roles, Marion Paroo in The Music Man (2008) and Grace Farrell in Annie (2006). Elsewhere she's played Eliza in My Fair Lady and Nancy in Oliver!
Kirsty also loves working with children - she runs the choir at her daughters' school and is training to be a teacher at the University of Winchester.
But in The Sound of Music, Kirsty enjoys playing the diva. She exchanges some wonderfully barbed dialogue with Laura Newborough, who plays Maria, and performs two witty songs, "How Can Love Survive?" and "No Way To Stop It."
"I can really put my stamp on them because they aren't as iconic as songs like "Do-Re-Mi" or "My Favourite Things", she enthuses. "And it's just an absolute delight to be singing the wonderful music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. I hope you enjoy hearing it as much as we enjoy performing it." The Sound of Music run from Wed 13th – Sat 23rd November at The Haymarket, including two Saturday matinées and two Sunday matinées on 17 November.