REVIEW: Sound of Music at Aylsham High School

Just Regional
Mar 23, 2015 3 mins read

A blank canvas can be turned into an artistic masterpiece by a solo artist. But to turn an empty stage into a live dramatic triumph relies on considerably more than one persons talent and this was never more obviously shown than at the Aylsham High School production of The Sound of Music.

Knowing how words have to be squeezed, crushed and shoehorned into a review and with any words dangling over the line to be cut without mercy, I asked myself, which one word would describe how I was actually feeling while watching this show? That one word was ENRAPTURED and so, if I was only allotted a one worded review that would be it, enraptured. Luckily I’m allowed a few more words than that but not enough to be as eloquent as I would like or to highlight each and every child involved as they certainly deserve.

From the outset the large chorus of nuns set a paradigm of musical excellence which was to follow. I tingled at the glory of their singing and it was a marvel of wonder that these children could produce such an exquisite sound. I salute Jill Deane, their vocal coach and Stephen Richards, their musical director and anyone else who may have been involved in the music of this show. If I had done none other than listen to the harmonious chorus of nuns all night it would have been enough for me.

But incredibly there was much more. Talent just rolled off that stage like a carpet, for example Emmie Wright was not going to skulk in Julie Andrew’s shadow as Maria. She and she alone was Maria and no one was left in any doubt of it, a confident actress and vocalist who was excellently cast.

The casting of this show couldn’t have been better. Olivia Taylor had a difficult role to play as Elsa and she was perfect for the part. Having to swing the audience into subtly disliking her to the exact degree is an acting art and she is already a master of it.

The seven Von Trapp children were again perfectly cast from the eldest, Liesl (Megan Blair) with a voice like a lark, to the enchanting youngest, Gretl. Their performances were endearing throughout and the audience adored them.
The Mother Abbess (Pippa Randall) excelled in both her singing and acting. I worried if she would be able to cope with singing Climb Every Mountain, a difficult and emotive piece to carry. I needn’t have done. She sang it with such beauty and passion that I felt my throat constrict.

Max (Robbie Nichols) dripped inferred humour, Rolf (Matthew Shirtcliff) bounced with youthful eagerness and Captain Von Trapp (Ben Would) added authority to the show, while Frau Schmidt ((Olivia Chapman) turned a minor role as the housekeeper into a greater one.

Having always been a fan of the Sound of Music film I didn’t think I would take kindly to any alteration to its construction, yet I was thrilled by the alterations that were made, in particular The Lonely Goatherd puppet show. The original wooden puppets were substituted, to be played and guided by real children, it was novel, fun and I traitorously enjoyed it better than the original!

The choreography was fluid and the scenery imaginative, the lighting unobtrusive and the orchestra a treat. Talent was displayed by many people in all aspects of live theatre and as an artist controls his brush, so directed the ability of Hazel Martin and Tanya Wiseman to create the sensational masterpiece that this show most assuredly was.

Arlene Todd


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