Alistair Blair, Caroline Keiff, Charlotte Wakefield, Emily Carey, Faye Brookes, Helen Hobson, Imogen Gurney, Jaydon Vijn, Joshua Tonks, Mia Jenkins, Michael Matus, Michael Xavier, Peter McKintosh, Rachel Kavanaugh, Sarah Huttlestone, Terence Wilton
The Sound of Music – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Regent’s Park is fast becoming one of my favourite venues, a beautiful setting that feels truly magical with the right production.
The Sound of Music is also one of my favourite musicals although I have never seen it performed live, so I was more than a little excited.
The Sound of Music follows the story of Maria Rainer, a young flighty, excitable, energetic flibbertigibbert of a nun who is sent from a convent to be governess to the seven children of Captain Von Trapp, after struggling through an awkward relationship they finally fall in love and get married before having to escape the war. Set against the backdrop of Nazi occupied Austria the story is still a powerful one and shows the true meaning of love and family.
Peter McKintosh’s stage design along with Tim Mitchell’s lighting beautifully creates the changing locations from the confines of the convent to the opulent home and finally to the escape route through the mountains.
It is easy, when seeing a show like this, to draw comparisons to the film version, Charlotte Wakefield and Michael Xavier lead the production as Maria Rainer and Captain Von Trapp.
Charlotte Wakefield is glorious as Maria, with an impressive vocal range, bringing a young and slightly naive innocence to the character, which develops brilliantly into the more mature matriarch of the family.
Michael Xavier, (who in this production shall be affectionately thought of as Captain Von Sexypants and also bears a striking resemblance to a young Rupert Everett) also seamlessly shows the transition of his character’s personality, from strict and off-hand in the beginning to warm, generous and brave by the conclusion. The chemistry between Wakefield and Xavier is faultless, and is a delight to watch as these two characters and their feelings develop.
Helen Hobson plays Mother Abbess with a wonderfully sympathetic and maternal attitude and her rendition of Climb Every Mountain was a joy.
Elsa Schraeder is played by Caroline Keiff who couldn’t be more perfect for the role and Michael Matus provides most of the comedic elements as Max Detweller. it’s lovely to hear the songs which were cut from the film performed with such gusto.
Of course you can’t talk about The Sound of Music without mentioning the children and for this performance they were an excellent group. Leading the way was Faye Brookes as Liesl with Jaydon Vijn as Friedrich, Mia Jenkins as Louisa, Alistair Blair as Kurt, Imogen Gurney as Brigitta, Emily Carey as Marta and finally Sarah Huttlestone as Gretl.
Overall this is a beautiful production and highly recommended if you want to see something exceptional.