Review Round-Up: Regent's Park is alive with The Sound of Music
Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic musical The Sound of Music has been revived at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, where it opened to press on Monday (5 August 2013)
… fans and sceptics alike will not be disappointed by the production at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park… Wakefield is a delightful Maria, moving through the roles of boisterous trainee nun to exuberant governess and on to Baroness von Trapp exuding the warmth, humour and energy that transforms the lives of the unhappy von Trapp children and their father Captain von Trapp (Michael Xavier). The children, all seven of them, are equally delightful and sing and dance with the confidence and talent of any of the older cast members around them… The high quality of the whole production guarantees it will definitely be up there with "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" as one of your favourite things in the capital this summer.
… Xavier brings a lovely understated poignancy to the Captain's transformation from rigid patriarch into affectionate father. Wakefield has a perky likeability, obvious as early as the opening scene when she scurries through the audience. Her brisk physicality is matched by a bright soprano voice, and at times she positively glows… Helen Hobson, as the Mother Abbess, radiates a surprising warmth and sings Climb Ev'ry Mountain stirringly. Caroline Keiff makes a strong impression as the Captain's joyless love interest Elsa Schraeder, and Michael Matus lends a welcome comedy to the role of pushy music promoter Max Detweiler. Of course The Sound of Music is an acquired taste… but its sugar-coated charms are successfully realised here. With its perennial cult status and panoply of memorable songs, it looks a sure-fire hit.
... Charlotte Wakefield's Maria is an impulsive, engagingly tomboyish figure who always seems to be on the run, whether from the Nonnberg abbey or into the waiting arms of the widowed captain. Michael Xavier also gets across the crucial point that Von Trapp's determination not to yield to Nazi pressure, which at one point looks likely to wilt, is reinforced by Maria's own spiritual resolution. And Michael Matus provides ebullient support as an instinctive trimmer who ultimately jeopardises his own safety by aiding the Trapp family's escape… If Kavanaugh's production works, it is because it respects the story's integrity and, in its use of every available inch of the auditorium, ensures the aisles are alive with the sound of music.
… This new production in the idyllic surroundings of Regent's Park is the finest I have ever seen… Charlotte Wakefield is superb as Maria: funny, forthright and movingly vulnerable when the emotional stakes are high. Her voice has a lovely bell-like clarity, and her rapport with the child actors feels delightfully natural and spontaneous. Michael Xavier beautifully conveys the melting of Captain von Trapp's grief-frozen heart under Maria's benign influence… The children are superb, with especially winning work at the performance I saw from Imogen Gurney as Brigitta, a girl emotionally wise beyond her years who recognises what is happening between Maria and her father before they do… this wonderfully fresh and deeply felt production proves that there is much more to The Sound of Music than raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
… Charlotte Wakefield is winningly headlong, spontaneous and full of life as Maria, hardly seeming much older than a teenager herself at the start and in clear, uncomplicated voice... Captain von Trapp may be handsome and imposing but he's so stiff with rectitude throughout as to seem incapable of unbending into romance, even (or especially) when discarding his shoes and socks to join Maria for a mutual dunking of feet in the water trough during "Something Good"… Michael Matus, as the comically opportunistic impresario Max, and Caroline Keiff's worldly, calculating Elsa bring out all the queasy jauntiness ("You may be bent on deeds of derring-do/But up against a shark what would a herring do?") in "No Way to Stop It" their duet advocating appeasement. Recommended.
Come on our hosted WhatsOnStage Outing on 20 August 2013 and get your top-price ticket, a FREE programme and a FREE drink at our EXCLUSIVE post-show meet & greet with the cast for just £35.00! Click here for more info.