The Sound of Music review, Nov 2013 - Newbury Weekly News

BATS created a hugely entertaining recreation of this well-loved musical, with a palpable feel-good factor.

The Sound of Music was the last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein and its songs seem to be knitted into our national psyche - thanks mostly to the award-winning 1965 film adaptation starring Julie Andrews. The sugary sweet Von Trapp children and the well known score of upbeat tunes, alongside the menacing presence of the Nazis in Austria, make for a show with equal helpings of drama and fun.

The iconic Salzburg-set story, for the few of you who might have missed it, (though it is hard to imagine anyone has) is one of a trainee nun, Maria Rainer, sent to be governess to the seven children of a widowed naval captain in the months during the Anschluss, the annexing of Austria by Nazi Germany, who ends up turning the family into singing sensations!

Laura Newborough as Maria was full of lively charm with good vocals and interacted with the children beautifully. Peter Francis as Captain Von Trapp, who has to change his attitude when Maria comes into his life, did not entirely inhabit his role but gave a sensitive performance. Ian Moseley as unscrupulous and cynical impresario Max and Kirsty Kingham as Elsa Schraeder (very rich, very blonde, cracking vocals) both showed real musical theatre flair, presence and expertise.

Tracey Gonzato excellently combined spiritual wisdom with a soaring voice in the role of the Mother Abbess and ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain was a triumph. The three principal nuns, Rachel Glover (Sister Berthe), Melanie Such (Sister Margaretta) and Jade Hollingshead (Sister Sophia) were most impressive in their ensemble work and the chorus of nuns also filled the theatre with a glorious sound (of music!).

Well done to juvenile leads Kirsty Bennett (Liesl) and Nick Brannam (Rolf) and the children, (Hammerstein group on the night I saw), were a sheer delight, talented, well drilled and animated – congratulations.

Enhanced by an attractive set of scenery and costumes with good lighting and sound, Director and Choreographer Martyn Knight and Musical Director Trevor Defferd (with a terrific orchestra) created a hugely entertaining recreation of this well-loved musical, with a palpable feel-good factor, which moved along nicely and was sure to please.

Trevor Dobson

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