Theatre alive with the sound of applause

Alnwick Stage Musical Society'The Sound of Music at Alnwick Playhouse.
Alnwick Stage Musical Society'The Sound of Music at Alnwick Playhouse.
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The Sound of Music – Alnwick Stage Musical Society, at Alnwick Playhouse, Friday, May 18.

ALNWICK Playhouse was alive with the sound of applause on Friday, as the curtain came down on Alnwick Stage Musical Society’s opening night performance of The Sound of Music.

Alnwick Stage Musical Society'The Sound of Music at Alnwick Playhouse.

Alnwick Stage Musical Society'The Sound of Music at Alnwick Playhouse.

And this rapturous response was richly-deserved.

Put simply, the group’s version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic was first class.

This special production marked the Society’s 25th anniversary and it proved to be a birthday treat.

It was polished, it was well-executed, it was entertaining, and above all, it personified everything which has made this group so highly-regarded over the last quarter of a century.

Alnwick Stage Musical Society'The Sound of Music at Alnwick Playhouse.

Alnwick Stage Musical Society'The Sound of Music at Alnwick Playhouse.

The Sound of Music needs little introduction.

In fact, the show was the Society’s first production in 1987 and founder members Norman Luke (director) and Paul Toward (musical director) decided that a reprise would be a great anniversary tribute. They were right.

And the 2012 production was made all the more special thanks to impressive performances from the cast.

Sarah Brookes was sensational as Maria, giving an assured and accomplished performance.

Then there were the seven shining stars who played the von Trapp children.

Some of the roles are being shared, with five of the youngsters changing on alternate performances, during the Society’s Sound of Music run-in, which concludes this Saturday.

The youngsters on the opening night – Hannah Firth, Ben Hardy, Emily Hope, Oscar Wilson, Daisy Hope, Holly Hardy and Lauren Robinson – were in fantastic form and belied their age.

To put the icing on the cake, the on-stage relationship between them, as well as the charisma between the children and Brookes was really impressive.

Others to shine on the night included Anthony Stoker (Captain Georg von Trapp), Sarah Purvis (Mother Abbess), Lynne Lambert (Sister Berthe), Arlene Cadman (Sister Margaretta), Anna Hope (Sister Sophia), David Wilson (Max), Sally Pumford (Elsa) and Michael Pearson (Rolf) – although in truth, every single member of the cast deserves praise for contributing to a fine production.

On top of this, the group also did justice to the production’s many songs, including Maria and My Favourite Things.

This year sees the Society add the 25th candle to its birthday cake. After this show, here’s to hoping they’ll be putting on a few more in the future.

CAST: Sarah Brookes, Sarah Purvis, Lynne Lambert, Arlene Cadman, Anna Hope, Anthony Stoker, Trevor Porteous, Kathryn Curry, Hannah Firth, Ben Hardy, Emily Hope, Amy Barrett, Oscar Wilson, Isaac Mills, Daisy Hope, Kirsty Hensleigh, Holly Hardy, Charlotte Mathewson, Lauren Robinson, Flora Allison, Michael Pearson, Sally Pumford, Linzi Hardy, David Wilson, David Penny, Carol Knowles, John Firth, Kathleen Sheel, Lucy Farley, Peter Biggers, Len Reece, Maureen Reay, Melanie Grey, Angela Rule, Teresa McQuillen, Sandra Appleby, Barbara Naylor, Margaret Reece, Ann Burn, Margaret Smith, Christine Trotter, Tess Allan, Nikki Buckley-Feiven, Louise Smith, Tracey Lydon, Gary Brown, Mick Gattens.

MUSICIANS: Claire Gilroy, Katy Luke, Alison Middleton, Sue Belshaw, Richard Stent, Glenn Hogg, Ron Creasy, Kirsteen Gray, Mark Gray, Alyn Routledge, Scott Grey.

The Sound of Music is on tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at the Playhouse, starting at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £10, conc £9, child/student £6. Contact 01665 510785.

JAMES WILLOUGHBY