Many modern musicals such as Wicked contain the spectacle to enthral an audience but many of the songs do act purely as filler material. As soon as you sit down to watch the excellent touring version of the West End revival of The Sound Of Music, you are reminded that each song is a classic in its own right. Who could forget "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" or "Edelweiss"?
The age old story of Maria, the tom-boy with a natural mothering instinct and the effect she has on a grief stricken Captain and his family is the stuff of rose-tinted Christmases sat round the television. Therefore, it is easy to forget how all of the jigsaw pieces fit together so seamlessly. From the glorious music and songs by Rogers and Hammerstein, a likable female protagonist, seven cute kids and the uplifting book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.
Fresh from her success at the London Palladium the problem was solved via a public vote and Connie Fisher is far warmer than you might expect. She embraces the role of Maria with such vigour and determination that she soon dispells memories of Julie Andrews. Her opening rendition of the title tune is simply stunning and she truly captures the spirit of the original, portraying Maria's softness/assertiveness incredibly well.
Likewise, Michael Praed brings credibility to the role of Captain Von Trapp, as you feel his pain but long for him to move on, as the chemistry between him and Fisher is totally believable. Margaret Preece's "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" is worth the admission price alone and her Mother Abbess becomes a pivotal part of the show's success due to her spine-tingling vocals.
Martin Callaghan and Jacinta Mulcahy are both excellent as the best friend and unsuitable fiance, again fleshing out supporting characters with depth. As for the iconic Von Trapp children, the kids are all excellent displaying touching affection for their Maria and all are in good voice throughout.
Robert Jones' set design is slightly disappointing as it wobbles and sways at times, taking you away from the scene momentarily. And the hills are hardly alive as they resemble paper mache, which is a bit of a let down as you never really get a sense of the great outdoors.
But, there is no denying that Andrew LLoyd Webber and David Ian have produced a fitting revival which still has the power to move you, due to efforts of a fantastic cast and those evergreen songs. As poignant and timeless as you remember, this Sound Of Music is so good that it will remain one of your favourite things.