Move over Andrews and Fisher, Verity Rushworth has rightfully claimed the role of Maria as her own. She has swapped the fields of Emmerdale for the mountainsides of Austria and her TV persona of eleven years, Donna Windsor, seems a life time away from her stage performance.
Few people are unfamiliar with the classic film version of this musical and many watched Connie Fisher win the role of Maria for the 2006 London Palladium revival of the Sound of Music. But this touring version of that production, is a no expense spared, glossy, often funny, feel good family show, that allows you to literally sit back and wallow in nostalgia.
For staging reasons a few scenes and order of the songs have been changed, as well as original numbers missing from the movie restored. In fact the breakup of the relationship between the Captain (Keiron Crook) and Baroness (Jacinta Mulcahy) makes much more sense on stage, than it ever did in the film.
We first meet Maria (Rushworth) as she sings in the hills above the convent, before the Mother Abbess (Marilyn Hill Smith) sends her to work as governess for widower Captain Von Trapp and his seven children. But while the Captain is preparing to become engaged to Baroness Schraeder, he falls in love with Maria, as she has brought music back in to his life. But, as war looms the family have no option but to escape Austria over the mountains.
Robert Jones designs are great to look at and hide a few surprises, especially at the end of Act One, there is no doubting Director Jeremy Sams has given the Sound of Music a well deserved new lease of life. While the score is littered with Rodgers and Hammerstein classics, such as “Do-Re-Mi”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Edelweiss”, it is the interaction between the leading players and the children that is the key. This is still the ultimate, feel good musical, which stands the test of time and deserves the house-full signs for its entire run.