A Heavenly musical: The Sound of Music.

It’s an iconic title, and one everyone recognises immediately. Whether you watched ‘The Sound of Music’ growing up, or you didn’t, everyone recognises The Sound of Music. And last night that very title was in a theatrical way, divine intervention at its finest.

I’m not turning into a religious buff but there was something very special in this production on the Derry stage last night. I was there for the music, and the story. But I got so much more. Still in the very early stages of grief, having lost Dad just last October, I found therapy where I least expected it – in The Sound of Music musical.

Captain Von Trapp was a closed character. He ran away from his grief. He shut out his family, music and life. Until he found love and more importantly, found himself again. How can this be therapy? When grieving you sometimes feel guilty about enjoying yourself again. A little piece of you goes out when the loved one dies. But Von Trapp and his family allowed me to realise just last night that it’s ok to laugh again and to be happy. It’s ok to be me.

Alongside my therapy, this show gave so much to everyone. An inspiring story of love and happiness, war and its woes, loss and reliving, and just growing up, The Sound of Music just resonates with everyone.

The Millennium Theatre in Derry was filled with people of all ages last night. Young children to grandparents, and it entertained all.

To say the music was stunning and exquisite would be an understatement. It was in a league of its own. Such classics as My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen going on Seventeen, So Long Farewell, Edelwiss and more, reminded us all of these favourite tunes. The voice of Soprano Megan Llewellyn steals the show as Mother Abbess delivering a powerful rendition of Climb Every Mountain that brings the house down and makes you determined to chase your dream. It’s just so special.

Andrew Lancel is a truly wonderful Captain Von Trapp who warms the audience when he begins to sing that first time. He is reborn in that first song. You just feel the empathy going out to his character. And boy, can the man sing? Partnered with Emilie Fleming, this duo are definitely one of my favourite stage couples to date. Julie Andrews I thought would be impossible to impersonate as Maria, but Fleming does the character in the best possible way. She is a truly the most delightful and wonderful Maria that we could have in Derry. Her chemistry with the children and the captain was evident throughout. And oh, the voice….

The children must not go unnoticed. They all excelled in their role on stage. Howard Samuels provided the comic fun in his role as family friend Max. But there’s no character that faltered last night. It really is a most blessed and talented cast.

When I spoke with Andrew Lancel last week he told me he’d been to the Millennium Forum but had never performed there. I’m certain his debut performance will be remembered by all for many years to come. Such was its brilliance. He really hit home to myself in so many ways last night. I guess it was just that therapy I mention earlier that got me. His character is so much more than I’d ever given credit to before.

Bill Kenwright has this down to a musical tee and the music and song explore the power that such has on people and on life. The words and music of Rodgers and Hammerstein will live with us for a long time to come. This timeless classic might have been around for more than 50 years, but it’s set to be around for many more if the standing ovation received last night is anything to go by.

The Sound of Music shows until this coming Saturday night. It’s one piece of classical musical theatre you do want to see. For booking go to http://www.millenniumforum.co.uk or telephone the box office on 02871264455.

As mother said on leaving the auditorium last night, “That was just brilliant.” We don’t often agree….but we did on this.


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