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4* Review: The Sound of Music – The Lowry, Salford

The Lowry was alive with the sound of music for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

This timeless classic has had a revamp for 2015 with The Voice star Lucy Byrne in the lead role.

And it’s her enthusiasm that carries this production to new heights: she sings like an angel and has great chemistry with the younger members of the cast.

Starting out on Broadway in 1959, and followed by the classic 1965 film starring national treasure Julie Andrews, this show is handed a new lease of life.

It all starts in 1930s Austria, where Maria Rainier feels her purpose in life is to become a nun.

Her vibrant, vivacious personality gives the church cause for concern and it is decided she will join the Von Trapp family as governess to seven children.

Captain Von Trapp, a retired naval officer, has refused to let the children sing and have fun since their mother passed away and the home is run with military precision.

Each time a new governess is appointed she rarely stays very long, much to the Captain’s dismay.

Maria, on the other hand, brings music, love and laughter back into their lives while softening the Captain’s heart and winning over the family one by one.

From the opening scenes set in Nonnberg Abbey through to the Von Trapp family escaping Nazi rule across the mountains, the stage was exceptionally well thought out.

The Sound of Music is also stuffed full of instantly recognisable songs that are popular the world over.

‘Maria’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘So Long, Farewell’, ‘Edelweiss’, ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ and of course the title song are performed by a strong cast with perfect harmonies.

Jan Hartley’s (Mother Abbess) rendition of ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ was an astounding climax to the first 90-minute act which left the audience on a high.

The second act is around a hour long with a lot of the songs repeated. It did feel a little rushed in parts; no sooner had the Captain’s fiancée Elsa left, he was declaring his undying love to Maria! This however resulted in a beautiful wedding scene before we see the whole family perform in a talent show and then make their escape.

The children playing the Von Trapps were delightful.

Showing professionalism beyond their years, all were stars in our eyes.

The accompanying band also deserve a mention, these are great musicians whose work never drowns out the stunning voices on stage.

The Sound of Music will appeal to all members of the family. I would give a age guideline of 7+ due mainly to the length of the show.

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