Theatre Severn Is Alive With.......

The Sound Of Music

Theatre Severn

31st May- June 11th2016

The laws of objectivity must apply here otherwise it would just be easy for one to use every superlative in the thesaurus and quite simply leave it at that.

That said initially attention should be upon Theatre Severn , just for a second, whilst praise is lavished upon them for securing this absolutely, monumentally good Show.

Following the storyline closely with the film version of the same name this,  “ Bill Kenwright production,” has to be one of the strongest shows ever seen here at Theatre Severn. It is a real spectacle and one that should be seen by as many people as possible. Maybe the total standing ovation it earned as its opening night came to its climax, is evidence enough that this is a winning show.

So why was it different ? How was it better? Well, quite apart from the amazing true story, its lovable characters, it’s sense of history and its sublime Rogers and Hammerstein score. It is all of it played notably well.

Co-starring Andrew  Lancel (Coronation Street, The Bill, Marcella) as the aloof Captain Von Trapp and Lucy O’Byrne (The Voice) as Maria the delightful Nun that none could tame. On equal billing one would put Jan Hartley as Mother Abbess. All stunningly observed characters and all  bewitchingly sung .

A sense of intrigue was bristling throughout the auditorium as people packed in to fill the place to maximum capacity. The question was how was this huge famous movie  to be transmogrified into a stage show?  It did work and it worked amazingly. In truth it was a stage play first, long before technology could capture the magic on film, this show would play all over the world.

It was a joy to see the theatre working as it should. Incredible bits of scenery dropped in from the flies, the cast all very discreetly brought on and struck the furniture so each scene could seamlessly progress from one to another. Every inch of space was utilised. There can be a danger of a two dimensional view in a proscenium arch show. Not a bit of it in this one the stage has depth and it was great seeing it used.

It was not difficult to suspend one’s disbelief. If the show wanted you to be on the mountains gulping in the alpine air, then that is where  you would be. If however, the show needed you to soak up the opulence of Captain Von Trapp’s Austrian mansion, then that is what it did. This show is a journey through a very frightened and threatened Austria trying to get used to the Nazi threat. Our journeymen were well worthy leading us through it.

Director Martin Connor has crafted this musical so well ,not just to capture the sense of history but to find the charm, the hopes and dreams of the entire text. Woking so well with choreographer Bill Deamer and musical Director Tim Whiting; together they have triumphed with a show that should run and run , and probably will.

The evocative score sounds so powerful when it's live. In the movie one undoubtedly  gets the charm of the songs but not the power. To witness Jan Hartley closing the first half with,  Climb every Mountain, is a theatrical experience that will be  indelibly etched on one’s mind for a long time to come. Andrew Lancel’s version of,  Eidelweiss, with all the Severn Children is a song where one may be forgiven for wiping back tears of emotion as their plight is so apparent. It is however wrapped so beautifully.

The children? They deserve a paragraph all to themselves. They are wonderful. Such responsibility on such young shoulders. One is in awe of the bundle of talent these delightful little thespians bring to the fore. Enchantingly charming from beginning to end.

Tonight we have climbed every mountain, we have heard  that the hills are alive with the Sound Of Music, we have interloped on several affairs of the heart and been part of an escape plan, that is why this show got the biggest ovation seen. Everybody in the theatre was on their feet and cheering and whistling. One feels that if the Urbane Captain had said they were going to do it all again the audience would have sat back, rustled  their sweets and lapped it up all over again. This is Musical Theatre at its very best.

The show will run for 11 days yet and it is this reviewer's recommendation that you get a couple of tickets whilst there may be some left, then get and lose yourself in top notch theatre.

I don’t know what Hitler would have done if he had caught the Von Trapps… he didn’t, I did, and as a consequence…….

This is a Five Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis 

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Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to loveshrewsbury.com for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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