REVIEW: The Sound of Music, Kings Theatre, Southsea, until Saturday, March 10.
The Kings is most thrillingly alive with The Sound of Music, a classic in a beautiful new production which effortlessly, compellingly underlines its urgent, ongoing relevance.
At the heart of it all is a genuinely entrancing performance from Lucy O’Byrne, a complete stage natural who captures all Maria’s playful sparkle – and also her increasing resourcefulness and resilience as the dark clouds gather.
For those of us who have lazily thought of the musical as a rather over-long dozy Sunday-afternoon film, the sheer oomph of the stage version comes as quite a shock.
We get the joyfulness, we get the playfulness, we get the fun, we get the ice melting as a grieving widower learns to love again. But we also get the sense of threat as the Nazi invasion looms. The unfurling of the Nazi banners sends a chill – and so the family famously flees, a story tragically unfolding every day for many thousands in countless countries across the world.
The Sound of Music comes complete with glorious music, but it also, just as importantly, comes with something to say.
And how well the cast say it. O’Byrne is a delight, a perfect Maria, a naïve but sweet young woman on a difficult journey into the heart of darkness and out the other side.
Neil McDermott is similarly impressive as the dashing Captain Von Trapp, a man who learns to appreciate the children he has so sorely neglected under the weight of his own tragedy.
Just as they need to, the youngsters filling the shoes of those famous Von Trapp children get it exactly right on a night which is rich, poignant and memorable.
Tickets on http://kingsportsmouth.co.uk