Reviewed by Dave Smith
To stage such a well loved and known musical as this runs an obvious risk, and to give it conventional treatment often can compound that. It can only succeed if the company gets all the elements right. Well, Director Tricia Hart and the G&S Society did just that.
The glorious opening nuns’ chorus set the musical standard and it didn’t fall away thereafter. Musical Director Heather Elliott made the most of the many fine voices in the cast and sensitively balanced them with the full, warm sound of the orchestra.
Claire McEvoy shone as Maria. She had the right blend of empathy and independence as she related to the children, the Mother Abbess and Georg. Kim Clark was a splendid Georg. It’s an easy role to overplay, but he didn’t fall into that. His Georg was restrained, formal and honourable, yet gradually revealed his gentler feelings. Kate Price as a charming Liesl, and the other opening night cast of von Trapp children, Connor Olsson-Jones, Chyna Hazel-Polkinghorne, Thomas Sheldon, Zara Blight, Henrietta Gray Walters and Trinity O’Shea all showed their distinct characters yet together achieved a fine ensemble.
Richard Trevaskis brought his broad experience to bear as the lovable, ever compromising Max, and Marsha Seebohm was a strong Mother Abbess. Her rendition of Climb Every Mountain was effortless and moving, and brought huge applause. Bronwyn Palmer impressed as the irritating Elsa.
This production had fine acting, singing and movement, all framed by a simple, effective set. The audience, young and old, just loved it.