FRIDAY 13th and the world in chaos – what better antidote than an Austrian evening of classic Rodgers and Hammerstein with Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society?
This is the third time that the hugely versatile and talented company has produced the musical, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, and the first time that renowned choreographer and assistant director Sheila Driver has been responsible for the whole show, with musical direction by Gill Merrifield.
The impact of the film version of this story of the von Trapp Family Singers was such that the songs and story are engraved on our memories, so it was a brave move to change the order a little, and include three songs omitted from the film.
This cast, with its alternating six younger children, draws from YAOS stalwarts and newcomers, giving opportunities for younger singers and actors to show their skills.
At its heart is Maria, the would-be nun sent by the wise mother abbess to care for the seven children of Capt von Trapp, after the death of their mother and the terrorising of previous nannys. Here she is played by Sarah Andrew, who captures the romantic essence of the role as well as singing with power and flexibility, even managing the yodelling with aplomb!
Ben Woof is a charming von Trapp, showing his steely determination in the face of the encroaching Nazi movement.
As Liesl, his oldest daughter, Gillingham student Grace MacDonald delighted the audience, as did her beau, the conflicted Rolf (Callum Longmuir).
The nuns’ choir, led by Mother Abbess Liz Stallard, set the scene beautifully, and Stevie P and Sarah Symcox made the most of their extra songs as Max Detweiller and Elsa Schraeder.
It’s hard for the children not to steal the show and on Friday the Do Re Mi group – Nathan Hannay, Rhian Spencer, Ewann Cassell, Lara Sayer, Alannah Lock and Elspeth Grice – came close to doing just that.
All of these were terrific performances of some of the world’s best loved musical characters.
A successful production of The Sound of Music should make you laugh and make you cry. I did both. And then it should make you cheer, and I did that too, along with everyone else in the Octagon.
The show continues until Saturday 21st March.