The Hills were alive with the sound of music at the Palace Theatre, when Mansfield Amateur Operatic Society gave their opening night performance of ‘The Sound of Music’ on Wednesday.
Produced and directed by Pam Frith with musical direction by Paul O’ Leary, a packed audience were treated to an outstanding performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1959 masterpiece. The sets were stunning and, together with the costumes and the way Katie Wright had choreographed the show, added that extra magic, that was worthy of a West End production.
The songs were by far the stars of this show as they seemed to be able to say so much more than the spoken word could. Theresa Stafford gave a breath taking performance as the Mother Abbess and her two renditions of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ received rapturous applause. Even when the stage was decorated with Nazi flags and Lieutenant Zeller, played by Stuart Moody, was speaking in an authentic German accent, all seemed to be soothed by the Von Trapp family singing.
Jane Wright brought a great deal of energy, well timed humor and passion to the role of Maria Rainer and Mike Follens, Captain Von Trapp, came across as strong but cold, the chemistry between Maria and the Captain worked well and we were able to witness the transformation of him into a loving, sensitive caring family man who finds himself slowly falling in love with Maria.
The Von Trapp children gave talented, word perfect performances and can be well pleased with the end result. The nuns were very realistic, and their singing of ‘Preluddium’ and the ‘Processional’ was harmonious.
Love is an important theme of the show and we watch as it starts to blossom between 16-year-old Leisl Von Trapp, played by Lucie Coupe, and Rolfe Gruber, the telegram boy played by Alexander Stafford, their duet ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ was delightful and was accompanied by some nifty dancing.
This is the second time Mansfield Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society have performed ‘The Sound of Music,’ and after the standing ovation given at the end of the opening night, I very much doubt it will be the last time we see them performing this much loved musical.