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Theatre Review: The Sound of Music - Regent's Park Open Air Theatre ✭✭✭✭✭

The Sound of Music
Michael Xavier as Captain von Trapp and the children
Photo Johan Persson
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Review by Philippa Stubbs

It had been raining on and off all day and there were high hopes that the rain would stop in time for the open air performance of Roger's and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. Only six percent of performances are cancelled due to bad weather and as 7:45pm approached, the rain stopped but there was no guarantee that there wouldn't be another torrential downpour. Armed with waterproof ponchos, an audience of all ages made their way into the sold-out performance space for this much-loved musical.

Faye Brookes and Charlotte Wakefield as Liesl and Maria
Photo Johan Persson
The same curved stage and staircase were present for the entire production, with the addition of furniture and a change in entrances and exits to differentiate settings such as the Abbey and the Von Trapp family home. Something also happens at the front of the stage during the show but it will not be mentioned, so as to keep it a surprise! Throughout the performance the orchestra were on top form, despite being hidden behind the set, and as night fell, all was well lit. The costumes were also well-thought about and complemented the action superbly.

Musical heroine Maria Rainer (Charlotte Wakefield) was played with passion and her sense of ambition, imagination and adventure comes through wonderfully. Too many a time Maria's songs are sung straight from the score but Charlotte added realism and fun! Her entrance singing 'The Hill's Are Alive' was just wonderful and she had a fantastic rapport with her co-performers, whatever their age.

The Nuns
Photo Johan Persson
The strict Captain von Trapp (Michael Xavier) was also in fine voice this evening and his performance of 'Edelweiss' brought tears to the eyes. It was a nice touch to see the other side to this character when he has fallen for Maria and their relationship was very believable.

The real stars of this show have to be the youngsters playing the von Trapp children. What a talented bunch they are! With a career already in theatre and television for most of them, their performances just united a pool of talent and stole the show!

This was such a sincere production of The Sound of Music, a show that can often be over-done. Despite there being an absence of hills in Regent's Park, it really was filled with the sound of music!

5 stars ✭✭✭✭✭

The Sound of MusicDirected by Rachel Kavanaugh
25 July – 7 September 2013
First preview: 25 July
Press night: 5 August (7.45pm)
Performances: Mon – Sat (7.45pm); matinees Thurs and Sats (2.15pm); no matinee 25 July.
Buy tickets: http://backstagepass.entstix.com/tickets/the-sound-of-music

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