Sunderland Empire, 11/02/2020
The hiiiills are aliiiiveee with The Sound of Music UK tour coming to Sunderland Empire! The classic musical based on memoirs of the real Maria that has since been adapted into a beloved film has just started its 2020 UK tour and we were invited to see it at the press night! Set in Austria in the late 1930’s, a young postulant Maria is sent away from the abbey she resides in to look after 7 children of a widowed Captain. Upon finding that the household is ruled in a regimented manner, Maria soon imparts her love for music into the home to bring joy to this disjointed family. As we both love the film (how can any musical fan not?) and the songs are timeless, we expected good things. The show was a great example of classic musical theatre that can bring in a sizeable audience of loving fans year after year. Packed with talent from all ages and those unforgettable tunes, we really enjoyed the performance. Read on for our five reasons to see The Sound of Music on it’s UK tour!
1. The Von Trapp children
Stealing the show from the moment they walk on stage, the Von Trapp children are a delight to behold. Each child actor has such a talent about them to bring a unique take to their character, it’s a lot of fun to see how they engage with Maria and one-another. Unfortunately there wasn’t a cast board for this performance so we didn’t get the names of the children performing, but each one was superb and all 7 together were unstoppable. Their talent for precise movement and angelic voices oozed throughout their performances. The young actors playing Brigitta, Marta and Gretl were incredibly sweet and each actor had their time to shine throughout the show too.
2. The voices!
Right from the very beginning (a very good place to start), the stunning voices of the cast creating the sound of the abbey, highlighted by the chorus of nuns was exquisite. This level of talent was kept up throughout the show but really stood out in the abbey scenes.
Leading the chorus of nuns, Megan Llewellyn stars as Mother Abbess. Taking her two solos of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” finishing each act and smashing it out the park to stun the audience was a pleasure to witness. Emilie Fleming (Maria) had a beautiful voice too – more on that later.
3. Those timeless songs
So many people know the songs from The Sound of Music, they have gone down in history. It’s a show full of classics from mastermind lyricist Richard Rogers and composer Oscar Hammerstein II (famous for shows like Carousel, The King and I and Oklahoma!) like “My Favourite Things”, “Maria” and “Edelweiss” but the stand out moments come when Maria (Fleming) performs with the children. Both “Do-Re-Mi” and “The Lonely Goatherd” are full of such energy and chemistry between the characters, allowing those numbers to lead the first act. Whilst act 2’s score is mainly reprises of all the favourites, it’s welcomed with open arms by the audience, keen to hear those songs again.
4. It’s an absolute classic
If you don’t at least know the film The Sound of Music, what on earth have you been doing every Christmas? The tale of Maria shows some quintessential musical theatre as characters burst into song and dance without hesitation. “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” boasts the wonderful dancing talent of recent theatre graduates Michael Anderson (Rolf Gruber) and Nicole Farrar (Liesl Von Trapp) as they waltz and move together in such a captivating and beautiful way.
5. Of course, Maria
Without Maria, there really would be no show. Played by Emilie Fleming on press night, Maria shows such wonderful chemistry with every character she interacts with. Her immediate love for the children and growing affection towards Captain Von Trapp (Andrew Lancel) is extremely endearing; you totally understand how some of the nuns can’t help but love her, regardless of her adolescent innocence proving Maria not to be a very good nun.
Flemings voice and persona are perfect for the role. Every time Maria sings, it’s a real joy to hear and it’s as if Fleming was made for this very role. While we didn’t get to see the Cover Maria’s Katie Shearman and Olivia Alexander, we are sure they are just as fantastic as Fleming.
The Sound of Music is currently playing at Sunderland Empire until Saturday 15th February 2020 tickets can be bought by clicking here!
The remaining UK tour dates and tickets can be found by clicking here.