SOUND OF MUSIC: Birmingham Hippodrome
Runs: 2h 45m, one interval
Review: Alexander Ray, 16 July 2010

Nice but pedestrian

Watching this production was a seriously weird experience. The show’s all here, all those mountains, the songs, the nuns, the children . . . But it’s strangely under-powered. So instead of a powerfully engaging piece of music theatre, we’re offered a very pretty, very cheesy, very nice time in the theatre.

I suppose it’s difficult to follow the astounding achievement of Julie Andrews in that film. But the least I think we can expect is (are?) some guts and some decent acting. Both crucial elements are sorely missing.

Connie Fisher has a very, well, nice voice – but hardly a match for an orchestra. Her acting is sub-standard (a lot of waving of arms) and the character created is too light-weight. This Maria has about as much charisma as a kipper. Michael Praed is a quite dreadful actor and can hardly be heard. I can only assume he was cast for his guitar playing during Edelweiss – but that’s only one song and it’s an awfully long way into the show.

Thank god (I speak in an atheistical manner) for the Mother Abbess of Marilyn Hill Smith – here’s someone who knows how to characterise and can sing with a full voice.

The children are marvellous and entirely steal the show, but then I suspect that’s the intention of the drama as a whole.

Having said all the above, I should, in fairness, point out that many audience members were on their feet for the curtain call. So either they’re not seeing what I’m seeing, or I’m just becoming old and terribly cynical.

Full Credits will Follow

2010-07-18 22:13:09

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