The Sound of Music (Tour - Birmingham)
Whilst the order of the songs may differ from the admired movie incarnation and slight differences to the narrative occur, they do on the whole aid the performance in its transition on to the stage whilst maintaining the essence of the adored film franchise.
Connie Fisher, winner of Andrew Lloyd Webber's TV talent show, is also a fine reflection of the likeability and warmth that Julie Andrews brought to the role of Maria. Fisher proves to be witty and smart whilst building a believable relationship with both the children and head of the house, Captain Von Trapp.
Where Connie Fisher seemed to struggle was with her vocal performance; much of her singing was limited and seemed to be stunted by any high or long notes. Whether this is down to illness or exhaustion can’t be said, but the ability of Fisher's performance seems to have taken a little of a beating since her schedule at the London Palladium a few years previously.
What also seems to have suffered a few cut backs is Robert Jones’s set. In the days at the Palladium the sweeping landscape of Austria was conveyed convincingly by a colossal disc which floated and moved whilst carrying the actors across the hills; now, in its touring carnation, the slopes resemble more of a crazy golf course than a vast mountain range. However, Jones’s designs are soon redeemed in a sparkling Von Trapp Mansion which is perfectly complimented by the bright colours of Mark Henderson’s lighting.
The ensemble which makes up the gang of children Maria is sent to govern are credible in their brilliant and humorous performances, especially given the young age of some of its members. When teamed with Connie Fisher's sheer likeability, the scenes in which they play together are movingly light hearted and touching.
Whilst The Sound of Music has seen its fair share of revivals, it is safe to say that this production is one of the better successes; yet it is not the best - as its recent London production came so close to achieving.
- Ben Wooldridge