BRAINTREE MUSICAL SOCIETY
The Sound of Music, written by Rodgers and Hammerstein
Director – Eric Smart
Assistant Director – Emma Loring
Musical Director – Jessie Tabor
I was welcomed by Clare Ryan, Front of House Manager who mentioned that there had been a late substitute as sound technician.
This was a production of the traditional and well known story, at its best. It opened with a mock stained glass window to denote The Nonnberg Abbey and quickly led into an impressive backdrop of mountain scenery. From the beginning, the sound quality was somewhat variable and did not always kick in on cue. Nevertheless it did not detract from the overall performance of the large cast.
Constance Lawton excelled as Maria with an amazing singing voice and great stage presence.
Niels Bradley, as Captain Von Trapp, was a strong character and a perfect foil for Maria. Their duets were tender and emotional.
The seven children, aged from 16 to 5, were an absolute delight to watch as they danced and sang throughout. Well done Gabriela Spindler-Mosquera, Tyler Drury, Abbie Macintosh, Emily Tabor, Ben Nelson, Alice Tyler and Avalon Lawton. All were well rehearsed and confident and used the stage well as they performed. Of course, Avalon, as the youngest child, Gretl, stole the show with her confidence and singing voice but all seven worked really well together and sparkled on stage.
Janet Moore, as Mother Abbess, put on a great performance and performed and sang so well.
Helen Quigley played Elsa, the rich love interest of Captain Von Trapp, with good style and presence, alongside Richard Cooper, as Uncle Max. These two were well cast and acted out their parts with great skill.
Michelle Knight, as Frau Schmidt the housekeeper, played a great supporting role, taking her household duties very seriously and I really enjoyed her interpretation of the character. It did prove quite difficult to hear all her words at times and she would probably have benefited from the use of a microphone.
Mike Watson, as Franz the butler, was a great burly character, well immersed in the role. Haydn Watts, as the messenger boy Rolf, engaged the romantic interest of the eldest child, Liesl and there was a tender duet by them.
Other major roles were played by Robbie Robertson, (Admiral) and Roy Morkham (Herr Zeller) both making a good contribution.
The chorus of nuns was remarkable and their singing faultless. They were such a joy to observe and listen to.
The large band, ably directed by Jessie Tabor, was very accomplished and achieved just the correct volume whilst supporting the singers. Very mellow harmonies were evident, a tribute to Jessie’s hard work, not just with the band members but also the singers.
As well as some issues with the sound, I felt that the spot light was often too slow to follow an actor to the front of the stage so that part of their performance was in semi-darkness. Otherwise, lighting effects were good and contributed to the overall set.
I must mention the magnificent purple and gold settee and chair which were just perfect.
The stage management team of Emma Loring, Keith Radley and Graham Everard and the stage crew did a sterling job of ensuring that props and sets were moved on and off stage with minimum delay.
Costumes (Helen Hooper) and wigs were all well sourced and very relevant to the era.
This was a very polished production from a very talented group, both on and off stage and I congratulate everyone involved.
With such a well known storyline and magnificent and well loved songs, it can be difficult to engage the audience but this performance did this so well.
Hazel Hole MBE