BWW Reviews: THE SOUND OF MUSIC, Curve Theatre Leicester, December 3 2014
The Sound of Music has seen several UK tours and productions over recent years and the Curve has decided to produce yet another version of the show for its Christmas production this year. Some say it's been done to death and Bill Kenwright has just announced another tour featuring Danielle Hope as Maria but the Curve somehow always manages to find something fresh. Artistic Director Paul Kerryson leaves the Curve on a massive directorial high.
Laura Pitt-Pulford as Maria is a revelation. From the opening number, she grabs the audience's attention and grasps the character from the word go. She has the playful, energetic yet slightly rebellious nature along with the caring side shown towards the children. Her interactions with the kids are very natural and she is clearly having an excellent time on stage. Pitt-Pulford is, by far, the most exciting portrayal of Maria that I have had the pleasure of watching.
Michael French - more commonly known as David Wicks from Eastenders - makes a very charming Captain Von Trapp. He is good at both the stern and soft side of the role. He has wonderful vocals but sometimes his volume levels dip, making some of the vocals inaudible but when he sings out, his voice is strong. The emotion he shows upon the realisation of his children's singing talents is stunning to watch as is his acting performance in general.
Another exquisite performance comes from Lucy Schaufer as the Mother Abbess. Her rendition of 'Climb Every Mountain' brings the house down and is an amazing moment. The children who performed last night also gave a very capable performance and Emma Harrold shines as Liesl.
The set design by Al Parkinson is often practical for both interior and exterior scenes, especially the framework of the Von Trapp house. The mountains are not represented on a huge scale but the direction allows the audience to use their imaginations to create the desired image. The fly plot often seems overcomplicated but I understand this was to mask the scene changes occurring on other parts of the stage. There are some incredibly quick transitions between scenes and the stage crew do well to accomplish them...even if occasionally they could still be seen once the action had recommenced! Takis' costumes are lovely and effectively represent the period/setting of the show. This is probably the 'safest' design I have seen for Takis but it works well. Philip Gladwell's lighting design pulls all of the elements together and visually it looks beautiful.
Drew McOnie's choreography is notoriously inventive and he again manages to create intricate and original routines. The musicians, under the direction of Ben Atkinson in an off-stage position, create such a rich sound, aided by the sound mixing and Ben Harrison's design. This can also be said for the quality of the vocals.
A joyous evening out for the entire family.
The Sound of Music runs at the Curve Theatre, Leicester until Saturday 17 January 2015.