The Sound of Music UK tour is in Wimbledon at the moment. H and I caught the Wednesday matinee performance this week, and loved it. Read on to find out more!
The Sound of Music UK tour is calling at various venues around the UK at the moment, and is currently at the New Wimbledon Theatre. I’ve grown up loving the film and the play, both of which have their differences. I’ve seen the film more times than I could even estimate, and have seen several stage productions too. Most productions seem to try to recreate the film on stage – understandable as it’s such a lovely film, but they’re missing a trick as the original stage play makes the film much easier to understand. In addition to this, the play has many funny moments which don’t feature in the film at all.
Fortunately the Sound of Music UK tour version is the play – with just one minor change, subsituting ‘An Ordinary Couple’ for ‘Something Good’ (which was written especially for the film).
Danielle Hope plays Maria, and was marvellous. A lot of her pronunciation and the way she sings brings memories of Julie Andrews in the same role, a comparison which is hard to avoid when she’s wearing a short blonde wig. We didn’t have Steven Houghton as the Captain, but his understudy Lynden Edwards was great. I was looking forward to seeing Houghton as I’d seen him seven years ago in Blood Brothers, so that was a bit disappointing. The children were all marvellous and all their voices worked well together. Jan Hartley as Mother Abbess was wonderful too – ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ was powerful and moving (I may have shed a tear or two).
The play itself brings back in the old numbers ‘No Way to Stop It’ and ‘How Can Love Survive’ both songs featuring a singing Baroness Schraeder and Uncle Max, giving them a bit more depth of character than the film did – and with the former song giving the situation in Austria (the Anschluss) a perspective – Elsa and Max believe you can’t stop what’s going to happen, and try to convince the Captain he should pretend to be on-side with the Nazis. This is what leads to the Captain and Elsa breaking up. The latter song is sung again by all three, celebrating their individual wealth and trying to work out how they’ll actually exist together when they’ve both got everything they individually need!
Let’s not forget young Rolf – a different character to the one in the film; the silence in the theatre at the end scene in the Abbey as the Von Trapps escape shows how convincing he was; his love for Liesl and his warnings for them to leave Austria are given a satisfying ending.
This was H’s first proper musical on stage, and she loved it. Her favourite character was Gretl, probably as she’s five too – she’s already being like her mummy… ! She managed well with it, the first half of the play is approximately an hour and a half, with a 20 minute interval and a 55 minute second half – so it’s quite long but there are plenty of songs which break up the dialogue when you’re five and just want to hear the music.
Everywhere is celebrating the film being 50, but I would highly recommend seeing the Sound of Music UK Tour while you can – the production is going all over the UK at the moment and just this weekend Wimbledon are offering half price tickets. We’d already bought our tickets, but they’re also doing a ‘Children go Half Price’ deal too (subject to availability, terms and conditions apply).
My biggest criticism. No merchandise! I’d have loved to have a book to accompany it, or even just pictures in the programme. I came away having spent £3 and hoping to spend more. I’d even buy a soundtrack were one to exist – mainly as my only version of ‘No Way to Stop It’ is the original Broadway Mary Martin version!
The Sound of Music UK Tour has a Tumblr page here
Bill Kenwright’s site is over here with dates and information – plus a gallery where you get a good idea of the gorgeous sets on stage.
I’m already thinking about going again… sigh!
There’s an awesome timelapse video over here of them setting up the stage at Wimbledon
and a fabulous extended trailer here which gives you an idea of how fab Danielle Hope is too
Our next visit to Wimbledon will be for the touring production of Annie in November – H is just as excited about that! (as am I, it’s been over thirty years since I’ve seen it on stage!!)