Daily Echo ReviewBy Rebecca Case
I bet there aren’t many people who don’t know a song or two from The Sound Of Music. For those who have been living in a cave, it delivers a tale of love, values and morals and has tunes that will ingrain themselves into your brain and visit you at inopportune moments.So how do you solve a problem like Maria? Luckily Salisbury Amateur Operatic Society didn’t need to as Laura Kitching was superb in the role, like a young Julie Andrews. Her vocals were crisp and harmonious and her demeanour was perfection. Captain Von Trapp (Dave Simmons) paired well with her, and the children were delightful, accomplished and well drilled.However, sixteen, going on seventeen could be applied to the number of set changes where less would have definitely been more. Also the lighting was unfocused and too dark at times, and was not one of my favourite things. Overall, though, it was tough to say ‘so long, farewell’ to this fun production.
Salisbury Journal ReviewBy Morwenna Blake
The Sound of Music is one of those musicals that everyone knows. The film version is the third most successful film of all time, Julie Andrews is legendary as Maria and very nearly everyone could probably sing a burst of Do-Re-Me or warble about the hills being alive if they had to. So deciding to stage a production of it is a brave thing to do. There’s a lot to live up to and a pretty high mountain to plummet from if you get it wrong.
Salisbury Amateur Operatic Society nevertheless decided to step up to the mark and give it a go. The opening night on Tuesday saw a few glitches, but they were mainly small and technical, and easily overlooked. The children were cute, talented and incredibly polished given how young they are. Claire Timms put in a strong comic performance as Captain von Trapp’s would-be wife, Baroness Schräder, ably supported by Michael Bolton as Max Detweiler. Credit must also go to Helen Lovett-Turner as the Mother Abbess while Dave Simmons made a likeable Captain von Trapp.
However, by far and away the star of this show was Laura Kitching as Maria. Any production of the Sound of Music could not work without someone with a little extra something in the lead role, and Kitching played it perfectly, her lovely voice matched by her charming performance. So convincing was she in the role that coming away from the show, one couldn’t help but think that Year 4 at Downton Primary School are lucky to have such a nice woman to look after them by day, the way she does the von Trapp children of an evening.
by Andrew Carpenter NODA Regional Representative, SW Area District 10
Amateur groups have waited a long time to be able to perform The Sound of Music again and after watching this production I can understand why. Rodgers and Hammerstein certainly knew how to write a good musical and it was given a tremendous welcome back by SAOS (Musical Theatre Salisbury) on the night I attended.Obviously for The Sound of Music to be a success you need a good Maria and in Laura Kitching you had just that. Her singing voice was beautiful; her diction was crystal clear and her acting first class, especially the warmth she showed when with the children. Here was a ‘practically perfect in every way’ actress to quote another character played by Julie Andrews. Playing opposite her in the role of Captain Von Trapp, Dave Simmons gave a solid performance with strong acting and a great voice. I would have liked to have seen him a little more severe early on to emphasise the contrast in character later on and perhaps some greying of the temples would have added a certain maturity of look to give more of a contrast in ages. His rendition of Edelweiss was one of the highlights of a production full of highlights.You just couldn’t take your eyes off Claire Timms as Elsa when she appeared on stage. She milked every ounce of comedy available from this role both in terms of the libretto and her physicality and I congratulate this most outstanding actress for the finest portrayal of this role I’ve witnessed. Playing opposite Claire, Michael Bolton was ‘just right’ for the part of Max. The way he bounced around the stage was most amusing and their partnership worked very well indeed.Helen Lovett-Turner produced a first class performance as the Mother Abbess and as expected brought the house down at the end of Act One with her rendition of Climb Every Mountain. As with Captain Von Trapp however I did consider she looked a little too young and could have done with some ageing from the make-up department. Asher Randall as Rolf was perfectly cast and he sang and acted his way through the performance very well indeed. I would have liked to have seen a little more tension in his final scene however when he made the decision not to give away the whereabouts of the Von Trapp family.When you think of The Sound of Music you of course think of the children and the nuns and in both cases the Salisbury audience was treated to a series of wonderful performances. The children were a sheer delight throughout and in particular one must make mention of Tegan Eldridge as Leisl (and I’m sure Ella Dunlop was just as good) who is an undoubted star of the future for MTS. The nuns limited appearances were always well received and in particular Claire Parrett, Fionne Harrington and Claire Horsfall as Sisters Berthe, Sophia and Margaretta each brought the different and contrasting personalities of their respective roles to life whilst maintaining a perfect trio. The rest of the named characters and chorus all played their part in bringing this famous musical to life on the stage of Salisbury City Hall.I always find the opening of the show a little disappointing, not in the way it is performed but the way it is written. I long for the show to open with The Sound of Music as it did in the recent professional production but I know us amateurs are not permitted to tamper with the production. Maria was very well sung indeed but I did find the choreography of this number rather inappropriate and predictable at times. I also felt that the whole stage, including the cat walk, was being used on occasions ‘for the sake of it’ rather than because the song required it. The former was also true in Sixteen, going on Seventeen, Confidence in me and No way to stop it. The huge stage also gave the spot lighters difficulty as often only two of the singers were lit at any one time.You know when you come to a production in Salisbury that you are going to get a very well sung production and the change from John Dempster to Liz Weager and Ian Hooper was seamless. The orchestra also was as impressive as ever as it tackled this very well-known score where any mistake would have been picked up by the audience. Other than the occasional blips already mentioned lighting throughout was good as was sound whereby each and every word was heard crystal clear. Costumes were fabulous, although I would like to have seen the boys a little better turned out in their uniforms at the start. The set was spectacular and again the large stage gave the stage crew a real chance to make it work. Particularly good was the transformations into and out of the monastery. All props were appropriate as was the make-up and wigs other than those two characters whom I’ve already mentioned that I would like to have seen aged slightly.This was another outstanding production from this very talented group with the undoubted highlight of the evening being the staging of ‘The Wedding’. With the auditorium being used as the entrance for the main characters, one really felt that one was part of the congregation. The appearance of the Bishop made the whole number ‘Sister Act’ like in style and contributed to the overall grandeur of this piece. Here the width of the stage was used at its very best and I congratulate Barry and his team for the conception and delivery of this part of the show – it was breath-takingIt’s always a joy to visit Salisbury AOS (now MTS) and I thank all concerned for their talent, dedication and hospitality – this is NODA at its very best.