Staging The Sound of Music is a good choice for any amateur theatrical company, but I hadn't expected it to be THIS good a choice for BATS.
The Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society is staging it at The Haymarket, Basingstoke, until tomorrow (Saturday) and it is simply excellent.
Almost everyone know the story of the Von Trapp family and most of us know the songs (though there are differences between the film and the stage show), and there canbe a great deal of pleasure in such familiarity. To have the show sung and acted so well just adds to this pleasure. Though there were one or two actors who seemed a little nervous when I saw this last week, the majority of the cast walked the boards like naturals.
Everything must, of course, centre around Maria, and Laura Newborough was outstanding in this role. Not only can she sing, she can also act and do the twotogether which is actually harder than you might think. Tracey Gonzato made a fine Mother Abbess and led the nuns in some high quality singing in which the blend of alto andsorprano voices was particularly pleasing. Mind you, I doubt many orders of nuns wear so much make-up or such high heels...
Also in the high heels was Kirsty Kingham who, as Frau Shraeder, had comedy down to a fine art. Her facial expressions and the way she wiggled her hips were spot on.
The Sound of Music has another thing going for it - the children. They give it an added ‘awww’ factor and this was no exception. I saw the ‘Rodgers Team' who sang and dance beautifully, and I have no doubt that the ‘HammersteinTeam’, with whom they alternate, are just as good.
The choreography, music, sets, sound, lighting and costumes were all of a far higher quality than I would normally expect from an amateur production.