By Mike Whalley
Wow! If 2018 was exceptionally good for local amateurs, with a string of excellent, award-winning productions, then 2019 promises to be even more exciting if Morecambe Amateurs’ outstanding crack at The Sound of Music is anything to go by.
The show, which kicked off the new season atLancaster’s Grand Theatre, played to packed houses every night, a rarity these days. It was good so many people were able to see amateurs at their very best.
The show remains as popular as ever but it still needs to be interpreted to a high standard if it is to capture the hearts of theatre-goers, especially those whose love for the Von Trapps has never abated.
And here the society, under director James Shields, making an impressive local debut, did just that in a production in which, perhaps more than anything else, the quality of the singing shone through - whether it be the irrepressible singing nuns (marvellous), the Von Trapp children (two talented teams, auguring well for the future), and the Mother Abbess, played by Tracie Penwarden, whose magnificent rendition of Climb Every Mountain was a Susan Boyle moment!
Claire Allcock can take a well deserved bow for her outstanding Maria, vivacious, penitent and loving, and with a beautiful voice to match. An extremely demanding role which Claire responded to with poise and grace. And her Captain Von Trapp, handled majestically by Peter Thompson, who transformed from whistle-blowing disciplinarian to kindly father figure, with consummate ease. Great support, too, from Jess Turton as Elsa, the captain’s originally intended bride, Bob Bailey, a lively, humorous Max Detweiler, John McKenzie an excellent, slightly sinister butler, and Jane Anderson, impressively strict housekeeper. Gabriel Cooper offered a lovely cameo as Rolf.
The two teams of children deserve special mention and a round of applause for choreographer Sophie Butler, and musical director Joanna Jeffreys.