Solving a problem like Maria is a challenge for any casting director.
The Sound of Music hangs on its central character and the bar has been set high – Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Connie Fisher etc.
So the choice has to be spot on and the current UK tour, including Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, has hit the jackpot with Lucy O’Byrne. Runner-up in The Voice, she excels in a demanding role, her superb voice handling those splendid Rodgers and Hammerstein songs with aplomb. She also demonstrates acting skills sometimes beyond the scope of talent show graduates.
Any suggestion that the story has become over-familiar was removed at once with this sparkling production. The tale of the von Trapp family’s musical success and flight across the mountains as Hitler’s Third Reich absorbs their beloved Austria remains as joyful and heartwarming as ever.
This lavish and colourful spectacle ticks every box, whether it’s those seven cute young children or scenery which makes you want to dig out those lakes and mountains holiday brochures.
Andrew Lancel has moved on from his long spell as DI Manson in The Bill and a villainous stint in Corrie to take a stab at a musical.
His von Trapp is excellent and there are some nice moments from Howard Samuels (Max) and Lucy van Gasse (Elsa).
Jan Hartley’s Mother Abbess really makes the hairs tingle with her anthemic Climb Ev’ry Mountain but then practically everything is a magic moment in a show which fully deserved its standing ovation.
See The Sound of Music at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until Saturday September 24. Tickets from £15 - £39. To book click here, visit www.trch.co.uk or call 0115 989555.