Friday, October 18, 2013
TACKLING The Sound of Music must be a major challenge for any amateur group because it is such a well-known and popular show.
But if the Harpenden Light Operatic Society had any fears about their production they should all be behind them now.
The show, which ran at Harpenden Public Hall until last Saturday, has one of the strongest casts the society had fielded in many years and the result is a production as good as any you could expect to find outside a top theatre.
It is not only the quality of what is happening on stage that makes this show outstanding but also the quite large and extremely able orchestra which provides really well-performed music.
For Isobel Handley in the Julie Andrews role of Maria the role was a triumph and a fitting temporary end to her career with the Harpenden group as she heads off to begin a Master’s course in music and theatre performance.
Her excellent voice and strong personality were just what was needed for the role.
The same can be said for Joanna Nolan as the Mother Abbess. Her professional training as a singer and her experience in concert at oratorio work shone though in some of the most important moments of the show.
Making his debut with the society, Julian Wathen was a first class Captain von Trapp. He brought great colour and edge to the role.
Society regular Colette Eagles as Elsa Schraeder and Matt Clothier as Max Detweiler together with Jack Jennings as Rolf, the telegram boy, all added tremendously to the overall effect.
The chorus of nuns was also extremely impressive. The quality of their choral singing was powerful and showed the result of what I suspect was thorough rehearsing by musical director Les Arnold.
But, of course, one of the things which makes The Sound of Music special are the youngsters playing the part of the von Trapp children.
As usual the society had two teams playing on alternate nights.On the night I saw the show Liesl, the oldest and the one with the largest role, was played by Chloe Brown with Ben Bevan-Lenaghan, Sophie Turner, Maksym Uzwyshyn-Jones, Chloe Bloom, Clare Gower and Gracie Weldon all doing a very fine job, and I am sure the alternate team of Maddie Johnson, Ben Douglas, Amy Howey, Alexander Van Weezel, Georgia Webb, Connie Jenkins-Greig and Sophia Rickett did just as well.
The whole production was directed by Katherine Berry with choreography by Joyce Smith.